May 2, 2018

Zuckerberg: Facebook supports journalism, but won't pay publishers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference Tuesday. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is now working to rank news outlets by how trustworthy and informative they are. He also said news consumption will not be the primary focus of the social network, and there are no plans to pay publishers regular fees for their content.

Why it matters: Facebook is coming to terms with its responsibility to moderate content on its site, reduce fake news and prevent malicious manipulation of content in its news feed. Zuckerberg said he sees Facebook’s primary responsibilities in this realm to be boosting trustworthy news on the platform, supporting the institution of journalism broadly, and finding ways to boost quality video.

“People come to Facebook primarily not to consume news but to connect with people,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with media leaders at a gathering called “Off The Record” organized by The Information's Jessica Lessin in Menlo Park. Still, he said, “I think news is extremely important to democracy and we want to make sure it is supported and funded.”

Supporting journalism: He believes Facebook should help support investigative journalism and underfunded areas such as local news to “build a sense of common ground in society” and combat polarization. But he does not see Facebook paying for content the way cable networks pay carriage fees to programmers as Rupert Murdoch and others have suggested: "I'm not sure that makes sense."

Election manipulation: He echoed the comments he made before Congress about using artificial intelligence and “tens of thousands” of content reviewers to prevent malicious activity around elections. That effort will significantly cut into Facebook’s profit around elections, but he said he still believes it’s the right thing to do.

  • “We’re going to be losing money on political ads,” he said. “We are going to be hiring so many people to make sure we’re not taking bad money, that we’re essentially going to be losing money. We’re going to invest a lot.”

Values tradeoff: He acknowledged that the balance between moderating content and free speech is a delicate one. Because WhatsApp is fully encrypted, it’s more difficult to spot a viral hoax or hate speech on that service than on Facebook’s other properties such as Instagram and Messenger.

  • “At some level, do you value the privacy and security on an individual level more, or do you value moderation?”

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.