Facebook Names Campbell Brown As News Partnerships Head

Facebook Inc FB has appointed ex-CNN anchor Campbell Brown as the head of its News Partnerships Team. Per media reports, last month, Facebook started searching for candidates who have over two decades of experience in news to become the "public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem".

Brown, who has worked with both CNN and NBC, in a detailed post about her appointment at Facebook, said “This is a different role for me, but one where I will be tapping my newsroom experience to help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook.” She added “Right now we are watching a massive transformation take place in the news business –both in the way people consume news and in the way reporters disseminate news. Facebook is a major part of this transformation. This change comes with enormous challenges for journalists but also with great opportunities.”

Last year, Facebook was dealt a heavy blow when it was accused of suppression of conservative news and doing little regarding fake news menace on its platform. Fake news dissemination on Facebook has been widely regarded as the primary reason for the surprise victory of Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Presidential elections. Not just Facebook, Twitter TWTR and Alphabet GOOGL have also been accused of spreading fake stories, resulting in the surprising outcome of the presidential elections.

After rejecting the allegations initially, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg changed his stance on the matter. In an extensive blog post on Nov 19, Zuckerberg said that Facebook is taking misinformation “seriously” but added that the “percentage of misinformation is relatively small.” So far, the initiatives taken up by Facebook include improvement of technical systems to develop more efficient detection of false stories. It is also working to help its 1.79 billion users report fake stories.

Apart from this, the social network is availing the help of third parties for better verification of news and is looking at the option of “labeling stories” that are "flagged" counterfeit by them. Furthermore, the company declared that it is “raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.” Facebook said it will also scrutinize ads that promote bogus stories for monetary gains. Lastly, it has said that it will work with the entire news industry to improve its fact checking systems.

Earlier, following the suppression of conservative news’ allegations, Facebook made the “Trending” feature more automated to minimize human intervention. The company has done away with the need to write description for trending topics that required news curators to do the job. Instead, the trending topics now just have a hashtag and display the number of people talking about it.

Facebookand Twitter have also collaborated with 30 odd news/tech outlets to be a part of the network called First Draft Coalition to curb the fake news menace.

At present, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  In the past one year, Facebook shares have generated a return of 26.56% compared with the Zacks Internet Services’ industry’s return of 11.46%.

A better-ranked stock in the wider technology space is Veeva Systems Inc. VEEV, whichsports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

In the trailing four quarters, Veeva Systems has yielded a positive average earnings surprise of 47.77%.

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