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After Insisting For Years That Facebook Is Not a Media Company, Zuckerberg Says Just Not a 'Traditional' One (cnet.com) 52

Mark Zuckerberg is still trying to explain what his company does. The Facebook CEO said in August that the social-networking giant had no ambitions of being a content provider, insisting that Facebook is "a tech company, not a media company." On Wednesday, he appeared to retreat a bit on that statement, painting a slightly different portrait of his company during a Live video chat with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. From a report on CNET: "Facebook is a new kind of platform," Zuckerberg said during the video chat. "It's not a traditional technology company. It's not a traditional media company. You know, we build technology and we feel responsible for how it's used. We don't write the news that people read on the platform, but at the same time we also know that we do a lot more than just distribute the news, and we're an important part of the public discourse." His comments come amid increased criticism that Facebook's news feed algorithms -- the software that picks the first posts you see -- sometimes fan the flames of "fake news" and allow misinformation to thrive. Numerous allegations have been made that fake news shared on Facebook helped Trump win -- a suggestion Zuckerberg initially called "a pretty crazy idea."
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After Insisting For Years That Facebook Is Not a Media Company, Zuckerberg Says Just Not a 'Traditional' One

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 22, 2016 @09:15AM (#53536827)

    Anything else they create is just to keep you on the site. Never forget that you, the user, are what is being sold to companies and govt agencies all around the world.

    • Eh, just treat it like eBay or airbnb, and sell your product. It's a quick way to get a lot of junk out of the house so you can move some renters in. Think of it as a public announcement platform.

    • Yeah... and for us users, they are the product.

      Next "insightful" comment : the sky is above us while we are on earth.

    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

      I consider myself the vendor. I'm selling information and eye-time to advertisers, through FB, in return for FB toys and functionality.

  • by thesandbender ( 911391 ) on Thursday December 22, 2016 @09:19AM (#53536857)
    It's not that he can't describe what it is, it's that he won't describe what it is. If he comes out and says "Hey suckers, we're a platform centered around gathering every bit of information we can about you and bundling it up for the highest bidder." some people might actually start to wise up to the fact that Zuckerberg sees every single one of us a source of income and nothing more. I have no doubt that if was made clear to Facebook that they would not be allowed to harvest user data from their internet drones their altruistic product to unite the planet would run into unforeseen technically difficulties and be wrapped up. And I understand they're a business and have to make money, that's their prerogative. It's the underhanded way they go about it, acting as if they're trying to work for the greater good while often flat out lying to everyone about their business activities. Witness the WhatsApp acquisition. "We will not bind WhatsApp users to their Facebook data". After everything has settled down, "Yeah, about that....". And that's just the most recent example of many.
    • What's "underhanded" about it? Turn it around and use them as your advertising/marketing platform. Nobody cares what he says about the "greater good". That's just more advertising for the tabloid press. There is no need to get so upset over it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        insisting that Facebook is "a tech company, not a media company."

        Neither Google nor Facebook are tech companies. They are advertising companies with expensive hobbies.

      • Saying you're not going to link user data and then trying to do so is underhanded. And that wasn't a casual remark Facebook made in passing, it was a requirement made by the EU to allow the acquisition to go through and Facebook agreed to it. Actually that's just lying. Underhanded is going through and changing the options available for users privacy settings and then reseting all users privacy options to the default as a result (and they did that more than once).
        It's the hypocrisy of it all that upsets
        • To mitigate the problem, don't believe the lies. Just assume they are lying and move on. Keep personal stuff off the internet and simply use it as a business/advertising medium. That way the more info you spread (and they spread for you) is to your benefit. The opportunities far outweigh the liabilities. Don't let emotion and tabloid politics cloud your judgement

    • Apple is not a music company...... Was the refrain. No one really anticipated digital music at that time would become a thing.

      Facebook I fear is where media headed. Short of public radio, there isn't any large media that isn't advertising based. Facebook is where advertising is headed since it's one of the few billboard you can get someone to stare at for hours a day. So that's where media will go too. Kind of like those ads that surrounded all the TVs in Idiocracy.

      It's also the death of the internet f

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      If he comes out and says "Hey suckers, we're a platform centered around gathering every bit of information we can about you and bundling it up for the highest bidder." some people might actually start to wise up to the fact that Zuckerberg sees every single one of us a source of income and nothing more.

      First off, nearly every company sees every single one of its customers as a source of income. Acknowledging they need to make money is not the same thing as caring about nothing but revenue. A company like Facebook, where keeping customers engaged is the only way to keep them using the product, would not do well if it catered only to the clients providing actual revenue.

      Facebook is a platform centered on providing content to users so they use the product. If they are successful with this central strategy, t

  • So it's a "media" company, what's the deal? For many people it's a wonderful free advertising platform. And his story telling keeps him on the front page, win-win. He's a salesman, and he's rich, good for him. This attention he gets is like the infatuation with the royal family, tabloid stuff.

  • Does it create media. "No" Does it aggregate media and show it to you, "Yes" I guess it depends on what you call other news aggregators. Slashdot, Newsmap, Phys.org I think the median line is Gawker which is probably considered a Media Company although most of the articles are news about links to other news sites.
  • by rantrantrant ( 4753443 ) on Thursday December 22, 2016 @09:38AM (#53536971)
    ...responsibility. It's not just FB but all the major news media outlets that have dropped the ball on this one. It's simply a lack of fact checking, asking questions, and speaking truth to power, you know, the bit that requires the attention of skilled, experienced humans. We've seen what happens when we leave it up to algorithms. It's time to stop this race to the journalistic bottom and for media corporations to stop publishing and republishing click bait articles with little or no editorial control.
  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Thursday December 22, 2016 @09:40AM (#53536987) Journal

    While I'm sure there are many who voted for him without regard for the fake news stories (which generally seemed laughably dumb) - when I talked with people in my own neighborhood that vote for Trump - none of them voted for Trump, they all voted against her in his name - and the reasons were a mixture of the best falsehoods (the ones with kernels of truth in them.) Things that had been repeatedly debunked.

    In a sense you can't really blame Trump for being what he is. It's not like it was a surprise. Certain aspects of the GOP have been creating this problem for years. Think about this - there were NINE separate investigations.

    One of them was the actual required investigation - which laid the blame on the State Department, Department of Defense, and somewhat on the CIA. This is exactly what you would expect. Clinton herself was cleared of any personal culpability, but as the head of the State Department she was ultimately responsible (and by extension the President.)

    Then there were EIGHT more. All of them, one after the other, came to basically the same conclusions as the original - no evidence of 'wrong doing' by Clinton (although Susan Rice - the ambassador to the UN repeatedly came out looking like a dipsh*t - lol.)

    That's more time and investigations THAN 9/11!

    The best part was the senate and house Republicans were several times caught being dumb enough to admit on camera that these were political attacks on Hillary Clinton (each speaking about their own investigations - not others.)

    It is clear an obvious to an objective observer that the entire purpose was to generate as much negative association with her as possible.

    I am myself a fairly socially liberal and very fiscally conservative person - but I cannot stand dishonesty (from either side - don't get me started on Nancy the f*cking devil Pelosi) - and I found myself repeatedly having to stand up for the facts (remember those?) when people I know would just mouth whatever they'd recently heard on Fox News that was intentionally inaccurate, incomplete, and often incoherent. I don't subjectively like Hillary anyhow, so that that used to piss me off even more.

    OF COURSE fake news helped Trump. It wasn't just Russian//whoever fakes news - it was fake outrage, fake interpretations of real events, fake evaluation of real facts, fake Fox News (MSNBC used to be almost as bad but I avoid both), et cetera.

    Now the crazy shit that was coming out during Trump's campaign? It was so obviously fake that at some point you just have to realize that a large number of Americans are stupid. I love America, and I like my neighbors (really), but some of them are idiots. That's just the way things are, and now they're going to get exactly what they voted for.

    It makes me sad for America, but we'll recover. The really sh*tty part is that I remember during the primary watching Kasich and thinking "there's a decent, centrist, reasonable man - who would likely be a two term president." I think Rubio could have done a solid job as well (and he would have probably been able to drain some of the swamp with his idealism as well.) To be honest, other than Cruz, Trump, and Carson (wtf?), the remaining candidates (even Bush) were not terrible if not great (although I don't care for Pence much, I think at the national level he'd actually turn out to be less appeasing of the base he currently has to deal with at home.)

    Anywho - long story short. Of course the CEO of a publicly traded company will act stupidly unaware of something that's been brought to his attention for months and is obvious to all of us... He's legally required to (in a way.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Except we are not going to recover.

      Spreading false information used to be difficult - you had to pay phone banks to do push-polling like Nixon did in '46 or your guys had to commit forgeries like Nixon's CRP crew - but the media was somewhat reliable in doing their fact-checking. The rise of talk radio in the 90's started making it somewhat easier because there was no fact-checking but, at least, the larger personalities stayed on point with their respective parties, their audience was made up of their part

    • Dude, you live in a bubble. There are millions of Trump supporters out here. How do you think he won the nomination?

      The Tea Party faction of the Republican party has been growing in numbers and power since Rick's famous rant in 2009. The 2010 midterm primaries were a warning shot. There were a few more wins in 2012, but we didn't yet have the strength to get a good candidate for the presidency. The 2014 bloodbath showed that we were on track to take over in 2016, and we did. We didn't win everywhere,

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Dude, you live in a bubble. There are millions of Trump supporters out here. How do you think he won the nomination?

        Nearly everyone excited about either a Clinton or Trump Presidency is/was in a bubble. I certainly am. I grew up in a rural area that overwhelmingly voted for Trump, but I cannot honestly say I can relate or fully understand a large portion of voters who voted Trump. I understand those who had 2nd amendment, abortion, and/or LGBT issues as their primary issues (and probably a few more I'm missing). I strongly disagree with them, but they will most likely get what they want out of a Trump presidency.

        But Trum

      • Dude, you live in a bubble. There are millions of Trump supporters out here. How do you think he won the nomination?

        I'm not sure what your statement has to do with anything I wrote. I didn't suggest that there aren't millions of Trump voters in any way at all. Very 'bubbly' of you to read one thing and your bubble turned it into something else entirely...

        The Tea Party faction of the Republican party has been growing in numbers and power since Rick's famous rant in 2009. The 2010 midterm primaries were a warning shot. There were a few more wins in 2012, but we didn't yet have the strength to get a good candidate for the presidency. The 2014 bloodbath showed that we were on track to take over in 2016, and we did. We didn't win everywhere, but we finally got a candidate who was willing to fight for us, and fight he did. And he won.

        Lol, I guess you're forgetting (quite conveniently) that the Tea party did not support Trump during the primaries (they didn't think he was a real conservative - which he's not.)

        BTW, there are two types of 'tea party' members. Those who were involved early and had act

        • You said that no one in your neighborhood voted for Trump, but instead voted against Hillary. That is literally a bubble. Geographically speaking, that is the very definition of a bubble. The area around you is an outlier, it does not represent the normal. Normal is that at least 1/3 of Republican voters were enthusiastic Trump supporters, and the rest voted for him because the alternative was Hillary.

          As an outsider, your insight into the Tea Party movement means less than nothing. I'll give you a big

    • So much this.

      Trump won the GOP nod for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was his non-traditional and pretty much contempt for the entire process. He came off as the personification of Howard Beale, which after eight years is exactly what many Tea party splinters in the GOP wanted. They didn't want rationality, calm cool collective approach to upending the last eight years of the Democratic dictatorship. They were mad as hell and they weren't going to take anymore. Fast forward, once Trump got t

    • Hi, we were talking about facebook? Trump Derangement Syndrome strikes again. OK, I'll bite.

      Trump's unexpected election victory has created a series of dilemmas for news organizations, beyond the fact that almost all of them got so much wrong. Trust in media was already declining at an alarming rate. One hardly reestablishes trust by being consistently and repeatedly in error, in an endless number of stories spread over a substantial period of time. One particular dilemma is especially vexing: what are "

  • and told my friends to just use my phone number or email address if they need to call or text or email me,

    https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday December 22, 2016 @10:13AM (#53537193)

    The things that really bother me about Facebook are the fake news (on both sides) and the fact that it's a total echo chamber (also on both sides.) Since the platform is designed to pull you in, of course it's going to show you only things you like. A right wing Republican is going to watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh, and that's where almost all of them get their news and opinons from. Same goes on the left -- MSNBC is certainly not going to try to publish an opinion that might alienate one of their assets...er...viewers. Facebook and other online sources are the primary news source for almost everyone under 30, and they use algorithms that fine-tune the narrative for anyone watching. It makes sense because their business model is collecting all your activity and social network, packaging you up and selling you to advertisers.

    I think Trump won for two reasons -- first, social media really did have an effect on people. Second, the traditional media were treating him as a complete joke right up until the election. I admit that I was thinking like that too -- how could anyone elect an offensive, chronically bankrupt real estate investor with zero political or military experience? But, Facebook and friends concentrate people's opinions and the anger is strong among many people...when your company has the power to magnify sentiments like this and convince people the world is falling apart, yes, you are a media company whether you like it or not.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A right wing Republican is going to watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh, and that's where almost all of them get their news and opinons from.

      Errr, no. As an avid "right winger" I (and most compatriots I know) do listen to Rush and watch Fox News, but we also regularly read/watch far-to-mid left outlets: NYT, DailyKos, MSNBC, HuffPo, NPR, etc. That's because most "right wingers" I know are actually interested in the truth and challenging our assumptions (it's hard to dig through the hysteria and rhetoric to find any, but there is some in there). Of the "left wingers" I know, I don't know any of them that listen/read _any_ of the content/media

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday December 22, 2016 @10:37AM (#53537361)

    Is that they're pro-free speech, except when they aren't. When they aren't, you get punished for nebulous reasons and every pedantic poindexter comes racing out to give the lecture "the first amendment only protects you against the government." Well no shit, but that doesn't change the fact that within the scope of the user agreement there is a claimed standard that applies universally, but is actually applied quite selectively. You actually do have a right to tell Facebook that you think they're full of shit and demean them when they are biased and one-sided because even if they put "it's ultimately up to their judgment" in the service agreement, their judgment is still bound to the framework and rules they laid down. A company cannot publicly proclaim to stand against hate speech and then claim that "kill all the honkies" is ok, but "kill all the n-----s" is hate speech because that is a public proclamation that their own standards in the contract they claim to use against you are going to be enforced in bad faith.

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