Media Expert Dr Cathy Welcomes Boycott on Facebook

‘I jumped for joy at the news New Zealand’s biggest news site is boycotting FACEBOOK,’ says Dr Cathy Strong.

Massey academic Dr. Catherine Strong 

‘This is an admirable step and demonstrates the value of a local-owned news site.    

‘Focus on the local community’

Local owned means the focus is on the local community, not on profits.  

This is similar to  Kapiti Independent News which can make editorial decisions based on how to better serve our community…and can remain disentangled from American businesses that are only interested in profits.  

Bold Step by STUFF

The bold step by STUFF to remove its news from Facebook is well timed in the year New Zealand leads the world in COVID reaction, and also in minimising the notoriety of mass shooters.   

Stuff is thumbing its nose at the big boys, and I congratulate the new owner Shinaed  Boucher for this bold and ethical move.  It is an experiment, as readers may not be able to wean themselves off social media for their news, but I hope it works. 

Owners of Facebook and Instagram have long focused solely on profits and have been purveyors of dangerous fake news. 

Focussing on profits

Even during the current  COVID crisis Facebook continues to perpetrate false and dangerous postings about the pandemic. 

‘Timely’ step by STUFF

They ( Facebook) claim they are doing something about it, but they haven’t done enough and empty words are cheap, which is inexcusable in a time of mass deaths. 

They also continue allowing dangerous false stories masquerading as news over the Black Lives Matter issue. 

Focussing on fake

I personally have used Facebook’s so-called ‘false news reporting system’ this week, to no avail.  

They do not remove the fake news nor even alert the person that it is fabricated misinformation.

Hence, people around the world are confused about what is real and what isn’t.  In New Zealand we are luck that we can rely on our local news media’s websites.

Go Local, says Dr Strong

I urge kiwis to turn to our local news sites so we know we are getting robust journalism, not foreign profit-motivated misinformation. 

Stuff disentangling themselves from Facebook may be difficult, but it is the ethical step to take on behalf of Kiwis. 

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Stuff pauses posting activity on Facebook

Attribute to Patrick Crewdson, Stuff Editor in Chief

Stuff’s journalists are running an experiment where we’ve paused posting activity on Facebook-owned networks from today. The trial applies to all of Stuff’s editorial Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts.

Stuff recently moved into New Zealand ownership, and a big part of our new era is a focus on growth in public trust as our key measure of success.

We’ve all seen examples of social ills on Facebook that aren’t compatible with trust – for instance the spreading of fake news and hate speech. Stuff itself is frequently frustrated by other sites posing as our website on Facebook.

Stuff says: “Fair and accurate news reporting is essential to society and as New Zealand’s largest domestic website and a trusted platform for other publishers and businesses we want to make sure we’re operating in environments that foster public trust rather than erode it.

We’re doing this as a trial so we can find the right balance between reaching New Zealanders with the news they need, and ensuring Kiwis can have confidence in the veracity of what they see.

“We were heartened to see that when we stopped advertising on Facebook last year, following the live stream of the Christchurch mosque shootings on the platform, our audiences continued to find our news and we saw no drop in our audience at all.

“This trial will no doubt provide Stuff with some interesting insights from our audience and inform how we best continue to serve them in the future.’

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