The lines have been murky for consumers when trying to distinguish whether Facebook is still a tech company or whether it is slowly entering the media market. On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg clarified where he stands during a Q&A session at Rome's Luiss university.
"No, we are a tech company, not a media company," said Zuckerberg, after asked if Facebook would become a news editor. “When you think about a media company, you know, people are producing content, people are editing content, and that's not us. We're a technology company. We build tools. We do not produce the content. We exist to give you the tools to curate and have the experience that you want, to connect with the people and businesses and institutions in the world that you want.”
He continued to discuss how the nature of acquiring news had changed since people have the opportunity to connect with people around the world.
“So, you know, I think that we're really proud of our role as a technology company, not a media company, in this,” added Zuckerberg. “I think the world needs this. The world needs media companies, too. But the world also needs technology platforms like what we do. And we take our role in this very seriously."
“We looked into these claims and found no evidence of systematic bias,” said Facebook in a statement. “Still, making these changes to the product allows our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics. Facebook is a platform for all ideas, and we’re committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics.”
While the algorithm is new, it has already made mistakes. Over the weekend, the algorithm-based trending module featured an inaccurate story about Fox News host Megyn Kelly and a less than savory story about McDonald’s McChicken.
Facebook rolled out its Trends module in Jan. 2014 with the intent to “surface interesting and relevant conversations” so users can “discover the best content from all across Facebook.”