Facebook's had a rough couple of years. With revelations that its platform was twisted into a tool for election interference, propaganda and harassment, as well as a breeding ground for hate speech, it's hard to feel good about the social network these days.
So Facebook has partnered with The Telegraph, a major UK newspaper, to publish more than two dozen stories as part of a promotional campaign to burnish its image.
The series, called "Being human in the Information Age," includes articles ranging from defending Facebook's mission to "bring the world closer together" to primers on how the social network is handling cyberbullying, free expression and scammers. The partnership was first reported on by Business Insider.
"There's no doubt that the internet has changed our lives," the introduction for the series says. "Here, we take a closer look at new challenges raised by the internet like fake news and data privacy -- and how social media is tackling these challenges."
A Facebook spokeswoman said the sponsored articles were part of "larger marketing efforts in the UK with the goal of educating and driving awareness of our local investments, initiatives and partnerships here in the UK that have a positive impact on people's lives." The Telegraph didn't immediately responded to a request for comment.
The move marks Facebook's latest effort to respond to the deluge of criticism it's faced in the past couple of years. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was once whispered about as a potential contender to , spends most of his time in public defending the company's latest snafu while extolling the virtues of what it offers to the more than 2.3 billion people who log on each month.
Meanwhile, people's trust in Silicon Valley has dropped. Roughly half of Americans told the Pew Research Center last year they don't trust social media sites to protect their data, and 62% said in 2017 that they believe online harassment is a "major problem."
Facebook's challenge with paying for positive articles, which are marked below the headline as "Brought to you by Facebook" to indicate they're ads, is that they don't always work as intended.
Two days before What action is Facebook taking to tackle terrorist content?" It profiled a London employee who works on Facebook's counterterrorism team, touting how the company has removed terrorist content from its service.to he committed in New Zealand, the Telegraph-Facebook partnership published an article titled "
"Between human expertise, tooling [software development] and machine learning, we're achieving extraordinary things, of which I'm very proud," the Facebook employee says in the article.
After the shooting, Facebook quickly found itself explainingto identify and stop the gunman's livestream, copies of which .
The series also includes an article with instructions on how to protect your privacy on social media networks, particularly on Facebook. But at no point does it offer instructions on how to , a remedy a has recommended.
First published April 3 at 5:18 p.m. PT.
Updated April 4 at 12:19 p.m. PT: Adds Facebook comment.