Facebook is getting serious about the news.
Whether by design or not, the social media giant has become the primary news source of many Americans, particularly young ones, and following the fake news debacle that overtook headlines in the last few months of 2016, Facebook is hoping to begin 2017 with a fresh slate and a fresh face. Among those fresh faces will be Campbell Brown, who announced on Friday that she would be “joining Facebook to lead its News Partnerships team.”
The former NBC News correspondent and CNN prime-time host took to Facebook (of course) to make the announcement. “This is a different role for me, but one where I will be tapping my newsroom experience to help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook,” she wrote, “I will be working directly with our partners to help them understand how Facebook can expand the reach of their journalism, and contribute value to their businesses.” She also stressed the importance of a feedback loop between publishers and her new employer as the social network continues to create its news offering.
Brown’s announcement comes amid considerable criticism about the prevalence of fake news on Facebook, the bias of its “trending topics” team, and questionable censorship choices. But even as the news veteran enters the world of Silicon Valley, Facebook executives have stressed that Brown will not serve as an editor in chief at Facebook. Indeed, the New York Times reports, she won’t be involved in content decisions at all.
Instead, she’ll act as an intermediary between news sources and Facebook.
“I grew up in journalism. It has been the most defining part of my professional life,” Brown continued. “Covering the news with honesty and integrity is something that matters deeply to me, and I have always felt that journalism is more than just a job.” But as journalism undergoes a “massive transformation,” (with Facebook at its forefront), Brown made note of “enormous challenges for journalists [that come] with great opportunities.”
She concluded, “Being given the chance to work on these complex issues with an industry full of people I care so much about is thrilling for me. I am really looking forward to joining this team, and can’t wait to get started. “