Mainstream journos are freaking out at Mark Zuckerberg following news that Facebook might make them compete on a slightly more equal playing field with Breitbart News.
The mass mainstream media meltdown was sparked by reports that Facebook will include Breitbart News in its new “Facebook News,” feature, which delivers news stories to Facebook users from a handpicked selection of 200 trusted news sources.
The full list of the 200 publishers has yet to be released, but early reports indicate that left-leaning and mainstream sources far outnumber right-leaning ones. Nevertheless, journos are still mad at the inclusion of Breitbart News.
New York Times writer Charlie Warzel said Facebook was “ignorant of the realities of the pro-trump media information war.”
should clarify: "outdated" is an imprecise word. what i mean is it is willfully ignorant of the realities of the pro-trump media information war.
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) October 25, 2019
Left-wing blogger Judd Legum, a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer, said Facebook was conferring “legitimacy” on the “far-right.”
The distribution and legitimacy that Facebook confers on far-right publishers is a systemic issue
I've been working on a story that reveals the massive scope of the problem that will publish Monday
Sign up for my newsletter to get it ➡️ https://t.co/Gl6evXRDcZ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 25, 2019
CNN smear specialist Oliver Darcy said Breitbart News is known for “misinformation.”
Outside Breitbart, it's unclear what other websites known for misinformation might be in Facebook's news tab. The company is declining to release its list as of now.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 25, 2019
Replies to Darcy’s tweet showed ordinary Twitter users had a good idea of what websites “known for misinformation” might be on Facebook’s news tab.
The director of “social strategy” at Conde Nast called Facebook’s decision “outrageous.”
Important thread on the outrageous inclusion of Breitbart as a "trusted" news source in the Facebook News Tab. https://t.co/TTN5fjbchG
— Nadia Petschek Rawls (@nadiarawls) October 25, 2019
The editor-in-chief of the Information, a tech news website, called Breitbart’s inclusion “unfortunate.”
No better example of how a biz models shapes biz decisions than Facebook's unfortunate move to include Breitbart, which is far more advocacy than journalism, in its News Tab. The ad biz pushes companies to a "both-sides ism" that thankfully reader-supported businesses can ignore.
— Jessica Lessin (@Jessicalessin) October 25, 2019
Left-wing advocacy groups were also upset. Sleeping Giants, which specializes in harassing the advertisers of conservative media with smears, accused Breitbart News of “unfettered racism, sexism, and violence.”
The articles on Breitbart, and the unmoderated comments below them, which feature unfettered racism, sexism and violence, have consistently broken @facebook’s Community Standards. Now they’re featuring this site as “trusted news.”
Who made this decision and what was the reason?
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) October 25, 2019
With Nostradamus-like prescience, Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy said she was “looking forward to getting my tweets added to some dumb listicle that’s like “Lefties Lose their Minds Over Balance” (because they view this as balance).”
Anyway, looking forward to getting my tweets added to some dumb listicle that’s like “Lefties Lose their Minds Over Balance” (because they view this as balance)
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) October 25, 2019
“Every day, Breitbart disseminates conspiracy theories about immigrants and LGBTQ people,” said the official account of Immigration Equality, which has sued the Trump administration four times over its immigration policies.
Every day, Breitbart disseminates conspiracy theories about immigrants and LGBTQ people. Facebook's decision to partner with the white supremacist-connected site lends credibility to this misinformation and endangers our community. https://t.co/5IEPs02Qch
— Immigration Equality (@IEquality) October 25, 2019
Left-wing clergyman Chuck Currie, whose Twitter header image features a picture of himself sporting a hoodie with the slogan “Jesus was a refugee,” called Facebook an “enabler of hate.”
Don’t ever say white nationalism isn’t a critical problem in America. @facebook is an enabler of hate. In a moral universe, Breitbart would be the definition of fake news, not a trusted resource of @fbnewsroom. https://t.co/BD7PEJ1Ool
— Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie (@RevChuckCurrie) October 25, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly defended Facebook’s decision, saying “I think you want to have content that represents different perspectives.”
Are you an insider at Reddit or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.