Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, Campbell Brown told Australian media executives that Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care about publishers,” according to a report in Murdoch-owned newspaper the Australian.
According to the report, Brown said:
Mark [Zuckerberg] doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” Ms Brown said.
We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice.
She allegedly went on to say:
We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals any more. That is the old world and there is no going back.
Brown denied making the comments, telling the Australian “these quotes are simply not accurate and don’t reflect the discussion we had in the meeting.”
However, the Australian claims the quotes were confirmed by five separate sources at the meeting.
After years providing a platform for new publishers to rapidly expand, Facebook abruptly shifted course in January, following months of pressure from establishment politicians and the mainstream media. Among the many changes to their newsfeed algorithm was a prioritization of posts from friends and family rather than publishers, brands, and public figures. Following the change, at least two publishers that relied on Facebook traffic went out of business, causing over 100 employees to be made redundant. At the same time, engagement on President Trump’s Facebook posts fell by nearly half.
Following the crackdown on publishers, Facebook agreed to artificially boost and directly fund content from a number of left-wing and mainstream media companies, including CNN, ABC News, and Univision.