Welcome to the newsroom, Mr. Zuckerberg


Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg made waves last week when he announced Facebook would no longer be censoring graphic content. (Wired Photostream/Flickr, Creative Commons)

This new century has seen a growth and change in the way that people consume media. People started to move from looking in their daily newspaper to looking online. The rise of the World Wide Web has also seen the rise of another new type of “thing” that nobody had really experience before: social media. Social media has become such a part of everyone’s life that it is never too far away from us. In fact we have reached the point where we can receive notifications from those sites directly on our phones. While social media has grown as a platform for people to connect with friends, it’s also taken on the role of being a place where people can learn about different topics on different things from hundreds of different sources.

This background brings us to Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is the creator and CEO of the world’s most popular social media website: Facebook. Facebook is used by everyone, young and old. It is also the place where most people get their news and information. Every single news organization (including this one) have a Facebook page to share their information and people flock there in droves.

Zuckerberg made history in the last week when he and the company announced that it would no longer be censoring graphic content if it was newsworthy or if it was “important to the public interest – even if they might otherwise violate (their) standards.” At the end of the day, the one with the final say on if something is worth being censored or not being posted is mark Zuckerberg. For those who are paying attention that means Mark Zuckerberg is the official Editor-in-Chief of Facebook.

Facebook and other social media sights are not news sites by origin. But if you think about the way that news is spread, it makes sense that people would learn about their news from something like Facebook. Social media in a nutshell is a place that people go to interact with friends and where there is interaction there is talking. Talking and word of mouth is one of the largest way that information is spread. Facebook’s “share” tool makes that even more convenient. Because of all of this, social media sights and especially Facebook have become basically aggregate news sites, whether or not that is their plan.

Facebook has already wrestled with this issue in the past when a certain team of content editors were found to have been setting up trending topics on the site instead of letting them appear naturally. Zuckerberg’s decision also comes in the wake of his words on Peter Thiel. Theil was one of the initial investors in Facebook and is also an avid Trump supporter. Others in the tech world have spoken out against Thiel but Zuckerberg basically said that we as a country cannot push out those who support Trump. Just because they are voting for Trump does not mean they agree with everything he does.

I for one, am supportive of the new role that Zuckerberg is taking on. As mentioned before, Facebook is a place that many people get their news from. It has become the number one news provider in their world, whether or not the founders feel that it should function like that.

Before the company’s decision, the type of editorial content that Facebook seemed to be pushing was because of a few random editors who didn’t really answer to anyone. Now there is a greater oversite on what actually functions as news on the website. Zuckerberg has spent the last year working to make sure that there was bipartisan coverage of the world being presented on the social media platform. Somebody has public as him will not be able to back off from that kind of commitment after making such a large promise.

Journalism and news seeks to inform the world about what is happening. Facebook seeks to connect to the world and start conversations about what is happening. It only makes sense that the two should intersect. And so with that I direct my last words to the CEO of Facebook himself.

Welcome to the newsroom Mr. Zuckerberg.

Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu.

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