Facebook on Sputnik’s Question: We Decide If Media 'Trustworthy', Not Good Or Bad

© AP Photo / Tony AvelarAttendees stick notes on a Facebook logo at F8, the Facebook's developer conference, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in San Jose, Calif.
Attendees stick notes on a Facebook logo at F8, the Facebook's developer conference, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. - Sputnik International
ATHENS (Sputnik) - Facebook is deciding whether media it wants to include in its news page index are "trustworthy", not whether they are "good or bad", the director of News Partnerships for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the social network said, when asked by Sputnik what criteria it was using to decide if media were good and trustworthy.

"We are not deciding whether you are bad or good journalists, you are above all professional journalists and adhere to journalistic standards, and that includes having an independent newsroom. And if you have that, and there are many criteria, and you can see the criteria, because you can apply for getting onto the news page index. You can see that it is quite a comprehensive thing that you need to fill out ... And once you do that, you’re allowed onto the list ... So we’re not deciding, bad or good. We’re deciding [if it is] professional and really trackable, trustworthy journalism or not", Jesper Doub said at the Gen Summit 2019.

Last year, Facebook launched a new system that would decide whether to include a news publisher in the network's ad archive. First, the company was using industry lists, but then it began taking applications from the publishers that wanted to be added to a news section of the library.

Sputnik has experienced some of Facebook’s policies on transparency first-hand. In January, Facebook removed over 500 pages, groups and accounts linked to the Sputnik news agency or Sputnik employees, claiming that the pages had been involved in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" on Facebook and Instagram. Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said she would like Facebook to explain which of its rules had been violated by the pages and what they did wrong "except for the fact that they were run by [Sputnik] employees".

Facebook has been tweaking its ad library in response to a controversy that surrounded the 2016 US presidential election and political advertising used in the run-up to the vote. The digital giant has made information about who pays for ads more transparent. In addition, it has worked to distinguish between news stories and sponsored content. A special section has been set aside for ads run by publishers and promoting stories on elections, candidates and important national issues.

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