Speaking at SXSW on Friday, Facebook director of product Alex Hardiman said that a change in News Feed ranking wouldn't be enough to entirely decimate an outlet's traffic.

When we look at the publishers who aren't doing well, most likely it's because they're abusing the system in some ways. The content could be sensationalist, it could be misleading in certain ways.
— Alex Hardiman

Why it matters: Media companies routinely criticize Facebook for carelessly wielding its enormous power over their distribution and ability to reach readers. Just in the last two weeks, two websites announced they'll be shutting down following Facebook's decision to tweak its News Feed to emphasize news less.

"Shouldn't we be having a conversation about Facebook paying for the quality journalism that’s out there," CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter pushed back about the company's relationship with news outlets.

Still: "I think for us, we historically didn't distinguish between diff types of news,” conceded Hardiman of Facebook's longstanding approach of rewarding "viral" articles that garnered a lot of comments and clicks, even if they were not credible.

The reporters on the panel also had some compliments for Facebook:

  • "They’ve done a good job at creating products that serve consumers well," said Axios media trends reporter Sara Fischer of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Stelter praised the new ability to simultaneously block a Facebook user when deleting their abusive comments, along with the new tag for unverified news articles.

Go deeper

Trump says he agreed to TikTok deal "in concept"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump on Saturday said he approved "in concept" a deal whereby TikTok will be allowed to continue operating in the U.S., with Oracle as its "trusted technology partner."

Why it matters: TikTok has nearly 100 million U.S. users, and is still growing fast. Trump has threatened to ban it, due to data privacy concerns related to TikTok's ownership by Chinese tech company

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. ET: 30,611,684 — Total deaths: 953,820— Total recoveries: 20,836,867Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. ET: 6,756,781 — Total deaths: 199,090 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 93,150,052Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Trump says he expects to announce a Supreme Court nominee "next week"

President Trump speaking prior to his departure from the White House on Sept. 19. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said Saturday he expects to announce a nominee for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat “next week” and that the person will “most likely" be a woman.

What he's saying: "If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place, yes. The choice of a woman, I would say, would certainly be appropriate," the president told pool reporters.