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Facebook Still Says It's Not a Media Company, Announces Election Day Coverage

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Spain earlier this year (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Spain earlier this year (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Facebook, by its own account, is not a media company. Which is kind of funny, given how important the platform has become to providing Americans with information. Today, the social media company announced that it was partnering with ABC News for special Election Day coverage—a curious move for a company that’s so emphatically “not a media company.”

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In a press release from ABC News, the company touts its curated Facebook Feed that will “offer live streams from anchors and correspondents at key polling locations and candidate election parties around the country.” The release goes on to explain that the Facebook feed will include special commentary from anchors and will also include comments submitted by users, giving the proceedings a more interactive feel.

Starting at 7pm ET on Election Day, ABC correspondents will even report on polling results from something called the “Times Square Crossroads,” which is apparently Facebook’s live interactive booth in Times Square.

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This isn’t that new, of course. Facebook was partnering with media companies for coverage during the debates and primaries as well. But it reminds us that no matter how many times Facebook says it’s not a media company, it most certainly is.

“As we move further into the election cycle, there continues to be a voracious appetite for live content and we know many users turn to Facebook to engage and participate in the conversation,” Colby Smith, Vice President of Digital at ABC News said in a statement.

The Director of News and Global Media Partnerships at Facebook, Andy Mitchell, touted the ability of the social media company to bring coverage to users “in real-time on the ground.”

“With their robust Facebook Live coverage plans and deep bench of political journalists, ABC News will help facilitate an open dialogue among voters and create an engaging and immersive experience from each debate,” Mitchell said in a statement.

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But just remember, Facebook is not a media company.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

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ReburnsABurningReturns

This isn’t that new, of course. Facebook was partnering with media companies for coverage during the debates and primaries as well. But it reminds us that no matter how many times Facebook says it’s not a media company, it most certainly is.

I think we don’t have to buy into these semantical absolutes?

Facebook may be a media company, but there are also fundamental differences between what it is doing with media and what, say, Gizmodo is doing with media.

Like, if I were to say “Facebook’s editors need to do a better job of encouraging their writers to avoid oversimplified absolutist confrontational rhetoric in an effort to generate readership because that isn’t the greatest way to discuss current events”. Everyone would look at me like I was a crazy person because Facebook doesn’t have writers or an editor actually doing any sort of production like that.

But if I were to say “Gizmodo’s editors need to do a better job of encouraging their writers to avoid oversimplified absolutist confrontational rhetoric in an effort to generate readership because that isn’t the greatest way to discuss current events”, then you could actually evaluate whether you think that statement is true or not because it can actually be a true statement.

Unless you’re going to tell me that Zuckerberg is standing over your shoulder critiquing your writing. Which I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess he isn’t.