Posts Tagged ‘Fake Paid News’

The Facebook strategy: From Fake News to Paid “News” and to Paid Fake News

April 5, 2019

It is nothing new.

Many newspapers carry advertising which looks like a “news article” or as editorial comment. In the last decade even the once most “reputable” outlets (NYT, The Times, WaPo, Der Spiegel, El Pais, The Guardian……..) have indulged in “Fake News”, both by omission and by commission. Some have become little more than lobbying outfits where the actual news content is always secondary to promoting a particular political line. In India, the idea of paying for “news articles” is an old tradition. It is the life-blood for the print media especially at election time.

(On a personal note, when I was heading an engineering company in India I found it remarkably easy, and quite inexpensive, to place favourable articles in local and national newspapers when we were bidding for important projects. Of course, our competitors did the same. “Journalists” were quite ready to repeat our press releases with no changes, provided of course they were given some special dinner or a free night or two at one of our guest houses.)

The more competent newspapers (I hesitate to say “better”) manage not only to get paid by both sides of opposing arguments, but more importantly, they manage to get paid for presenting themselves as “balanced” and objective.

So now The Telegraph will be publishing a series of paid articles for Facebook, identified as being advertising but still looking like editorial content.

From Fake News to Paid News and now to Fake, Paid News.

Business Insider:

  • Facebook is paying The Daily Telegraph to run a series of positive sponsored stories about it.
  • The British newspaper is running dozens of stories that defend Facebook on controversial subjects like terrorism, hate speech, and cyber-bullying.
  • It shows how Facebook is attempting to sidestep the often-critical media by buying positive coverage of itself.
  • A spokesperson said it is part of a UK marketing campaign to drive “awareness” of Facebook’s investments “that have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

 

Facebook has found a novel solution to the never-ending deluge of negative headlines and news articles criticizing the company: Simply paying a British newspaper to run laudatory stories about it.

Facebook has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a broadsheet British newspaper, to run a series of features about the company, Business Insider has found – including stories that defend it on hot-button issues it has been criticised over like terrorist content, online safety, cyberbullying, fake accounts, and hate speech.

The series – called “Being human in the information age” – has published 26 stories over the last month, to run in print and online, and is produced by Telegraph Spark, the newspaper’s sponsored content unit.

“Fake news, cyberbullying, artificial intelligence – it seems like life in the internet age can be a scary place,” the articles 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.”

Sponsored native content, in which companies pay for media organizations to produce positive articles that appear similar to traditional news stories, are an increasingly popular method of monetization for many publications, including Business Insider. Some studies have been critical of the ad format, arguing they can mislead news consumers. ….

The stories dismiss ‘technofears’ about the impact of technology on society. …….

Facebook’s go-to talking points are all here. ………

…….. Facebook has paid for sponsored content with British newspapers before – but on far less politically charged issues. In 2016 and 2017, before its current wave of scandals, it ran a number of stories in left-leaning The Guardian on subjects like growing your business with video, understanding customers, and case studies of succesful companies. The Guardian articles are now offline, but remain accessible via the Internet Archive.


 

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: