Facebook teams with UK newspaper for series of positive sponsored articles
The social network looks to repair its image with a series of stories "brought to you by Facebook."
Ian SherrContributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
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.
"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.
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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
, who was once whispered about as a potential contender to run for president of the United States, 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.