Fearing Fake News, Top Newspaper from Brazil Will Stop Posting on Facebook

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Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, will stop publishing news on Facebook. This move was made in the light of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s shift to focusing on more personal content, which was announced at the beginning of the year.

Nearly 6 million people follow Folha on Facebook, and in Brazil 100 million people use the social network site, putting the country in the top five nations whose citizens are most active on Facebook.

Mr. Zuckerberg said that the change in Facebook’s newsfeed’s algorithm will allow for more “meaningful social interactions.” However, Folha claims that this will only encourage more fake news to proliferate.

Folha, which is based in Sao Paolo and was founded in 1921, has said that among its readers, the number of those who get their news via Facebook has dropped from 39 percent early in 2017 to 24 percent in December.

A statement from Folha read, “The disadvantages of Facebook as a way to send information to readers became more obvious following the social network’s decision to reduce the visibility of professional journalism on the pages of its users.”

Ever since the number of  Russian “fake news” sites spread on Facebook and were said to have had an impact on the US presidential elections in 2016, the social media behemoth has drawn widespread criticism.

For now, Folha has announced that while the newspaper will keep its account, it will no longer be updated. However, followers can continue to share Folha’s articles from their accounts.

Back in 2013, Globo, a media group from Bazil also stopped posting content on Facebook, but resumed in 2014.

Renato Cruz, a specialist on online media, believes that Folha’s decision will not hurt Facebook in a significant way. He said, “By focusing on personal content, the social network has strengthened its business strategy: if a company wants to gain visibility, it must pay, whether it is a media outlet or not.”