Journalists were still defending Facebook against their colleagues less than a year ago

I still don't get why so many journalists have been so easy on Facebook for so long.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The relationship between journalists and Facebook has been weird for the last decade. I've been looking back at the coverage of Facebook over the last year, and found something that I suspect the author might regret, with retrospect.

Scott Rosenberg, Axios's tech editor wrote a rather eyebrow-raising piece suggesting that the big tech companies were right to complain about the way the press is covering them.

Facebook and Google execs privately complain about the barrage of critical coverage they face, charging that media companies have a financial incentive to attack them and that media execs are settling scores. They're right.

That piece does not age well, does it?

Eric Levitz had a righteous comeback:

But it’s also plausible that the immense power that Facebook and Google have amassed leads other outlets to cover them less adversarially than they should. For example, a newly hired tech editor at a digital-first publication that specializes in providing intimate access into the thoughts of the powerful (to readers who prefer their news in flash-card form) might write a β€œbeat-sweetener” piece informing Facebook and Google executives that they are right to see themselves as victims of the Fourth Estate’s professional jealousy.

Sick burn.

However, his core point β€” that these companies need holding to account is sound, and remains sound nearly a year on. That whole sequence of stories about Facebook β€” that still seem be coming at a fair old clip β€” have had precious little impact on the company β€” yet.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.