Facebook Hires New York Times Veteran For Fake News Battle

Eric Lieberman | Deputy Editor

A New York Times veteran announced Monday she was promoted from her current role at Facebook to head of news products in New York City for the social media giant.

Alex Hardiman will now be working “hand-in-hand” with Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who was hired in January to lead Facebook’s news partnerships team.

The tech company has been pressured to help decipher and purge news stories that are false, unsubstantiated, or misleading, even though doing so in an objective way will be difficult and perhaps impossible. Former President Barack Obama even confronted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the purported problem of “fake news” on the social media platform. (RELATED: Germany To Consider Fining Facebook If It Doesn’t Purge Fake News)

Brown’s distaste for President Donald Trump is rather apparent through her official Twitter account, while Hardiman’s political leanings are not broadcasted on her social media profiles.

“We will spend time building better products and tools for journalists, working hand-in-hand with Campbell Brown and her team to strengthen the relationships and value exchange between Facebook and news providers,” Hardiman wrote on her Facebook page. “We will also partner with teams in Facebook to continue curbing the spread of false news.”

Hardiman left The New York Times in July after 10 years at the publication, working in several different roles, but finishing as the newspaper’s vice president of news products.

She will likely build upon initiatives and practices Facebook has developed in past months. (RELATED: Facebook Exec: We Are ‘Just Getting Started’ With ‘Fake News’ Battle)

The social media company turned tech conglomerate announced in January that it would be rolling out two updates to help better rank posts in users’ news feed. One of the changes is “incorporating new signals to better identify and rank authentic content.”

Facebook introduced more “fake news” fighting features in April, specifically in the form of an “educational tool.” The platform offers a section for “tips for spotting false news” that sometimes appear at the top of the News Feed. (RELATED: Google’s Fake News ‘Fact Checkers’ Include Snopes, Politifact)

Some suggestions include checking and investigating the source of news, comparing the news to other reports on the topic, and distinguishing between satire and seriousness.

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