Oct 21, 2021 - Technology

Facebook is a news media magnet

News coverage of <span style="color: #1578F2">Facebook</span> compared to <span style="color: #999999">other</span> major tech companies
Data: Signal AI; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

New data finds that Facebook has been mentioned in more online stories in the U.S. in the past year than all of its major tech competitors combined.

Why it matters: Press scrutiny of Facebook has become so intense and negative that the tech giant is reportedly planning to rename itself as soon as next week to signal that it's more than just a social media company.

Details: The data from Signal AI, a platform that measures article mentions, finds that coverage of Facebook began to increase significantly after the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of articles based on thousands of pages of leaked documents from a whistleblower.

  • The whistleblower, a former Facebook product manager named Frances Haugen, has remained in the news cycle via interviews and appearances at government hearings, helping to fuel the press onslaught.

The big picture: Facebook has long been the target of intense press coverage. But revelations over the past year about the role it played in spreading misinformation around the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic have made it an even bigger target.

  • While companies like Amazon and Apple have faced their own crises, they've managed to escape the level of coverage saturation that Facebook has experienced.

Details: Signal AI compared mentions of Facebook in top U.S. digital, print and broadcast news outlets with mentions of tech and social media competitors Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat, Netflix and Reddit. Instagram, which Facebook owns, was categorized separately.

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