Facebook reportedly threatens Australian media execs: Work with us or die

On Tuesday, the UK Sun reported that Campbell Brown, Facebook’s global head of news partnerships, allegedly told a group of Australian media executives that their businesses would die without the social media giant’s help, and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about publishers.

“We will help you revitalize journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying ­business like in a hospice,” Brown reportedly said, citing the Australian.

“Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” she said, according to the report, which, The Sun said, was confirmed by five sources present at the meeting.

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“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back – Mark wouldn’t agree to this,” she reportedly added.

Facebook, The Sun and others said, strongly denied the report, saying the quotes were “not accurate” and were “taken out of context.” But, Natasha Clark added, they have not released transcripts of the meeting.

A report at Fortune added:

Facebook spent years recruiting publishers and broadcasters to push their stories and media to the social network in order to draw in readers, listeners, and viewers. This often involved media firms, large and small, having to turn on a dime to follow Facebook’s pivots in priorities.

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook moved back to a heavy focus on its users’ posts and personal interaction, leading to a dramatic drop in traffic referred by Facebook to media sites.

Facebook told Business Insider that the quoted remarks don’t reflect what was actually discussed. The company said that “our goal at Facebook—what the team works on every day with publishers and reporters around the world—is to help journalism succeed and thrive, both on our platform and off.”

But can the company — once dubbed the “world’s most dangerous censor” — truly be believed?

As we and many others have reported, traffic to conservative sites from the social media company has suffered significantly since the 2016 election, while more liberal outlets like CNN have seen an increase.

Writing at the Gateway Pundit, Cristina Laila said companies like Facebook “should be treated like utilities to prevent them from banning people based on their political beliefs,” noting that “they provide a space for the modern day public square in the digital age.”

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