Facebook, which has been inundated with negative press coverage lately, has found a new way to take its message directly to the public — by paying a major British newspaper to run positive stories about it.
The tech giant has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a right-leaning broadsheet in the U.K., to run a series of articles that defend the Mark Zuckerberg-led company on a range of issues that have bedeviled the social network, including terrorist content, hate speech, cyberbullying and fake accounts, according to Business Insider.
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The series, produced by the newspaper’s sponsored content unit, is called “Being human in the information age” and has already published 26 stories over the last month to run in print and online, Business Insider reports.
“Fake news, cyberbullying, artificial intelligence — it seems like life in the internet age can be a scary place,” the articles reportedly say. “That’s why Telegraph Spark and Facebook have teamed up to show how Facebook and other social media platforms are harnessing the power of the internet to protect your personal data.”
The tech company’s use of sponsored content, which is a form of native advertising that some critics claim blurs the line between editorial and ad sales, is one way for Facebook to push back on several years of unrelenting and often scathing coverage amid scandals over privacy, hate speech and election integrity.
Facebook spokesperson Vicky Gomes told Business Insider that “this is a part of our larger marketing efforts in the U.K. with the goal of educating and driving awareness of our local investments, initiatives, and partnerships here in the U.K. that have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
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“As part of this campaign, we’ve partnered with the Telegraph and there will be some profiles of London-based employees working on some of the toughest issues to keep our platform safe, as well as articles to educate people on topics like how to spot fake news and how to adjust their privacy settings,” Gomes continued.
According to Business Insider, most of the stories dismiss so-called “technofears” about the ways in which powerful platforms like Facebook are being harnessed by bad actors, foreign governments and hate groups, and some feature interviews with current Facebook employees.
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