WTVM Editorial 1/22/18: Facebook changes

(WTVM) - For the millions of us who are on Facebook, it seems we wake up to a different world each day as Facebook endlessly changes what happens on our news feeds.

The latest change came earlier this month when CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced they'd start showing fewer news articles and less marketing content and ads. Instead, Facebook intends to move back to the days of showing users more content from their friends and family.

We think this is mostly a good thing. As the General Manager of a television station with a very healthy Facebook following, you might think I'd be concerned about this. And maybe I am, just a little.

It might mean News Leader 9 stories might not show up on your feed as much. But then neither will a lot of the "fake news" posts that have taken over social media in the past few years. Fake news is more than the misinformed or error-ridden or even biased news stories that President Trump likes to call out on Twitter.

Fake news also includes blatantly false stories designed to stoke anger, stories that divide us and cause tension and stress.

That was never what Facebook was supposed to be.

I started my broadcasting career in news and I spend a lot of time-consuming news from a variety of news sources. Most of them practice decent journalism, with ethics, fairness, proper sourcing, and accuracy.

But none of that is Facebook's job. Facebook wasn't built for journalism. Facebook is not a news source. At its best Facebook creates connections among us. It should not actively divide us.

Facebook is great for pictures of your nephew's wedding or an uplifting story of courage or kindness. But reputable news sites like WTVM.COM and our WTVM News Leader 9 Facebook page is where you need to go for consistently reliable local coverage.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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