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How Could Hiring Former CNN Host Help Facebook’s News Business?

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 11:55 a.m. ET

Campbell Brown will head Facebook News Partnership division

Facebook’s (FB) hiring of Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor, appears to be a move to make nice with wary media publishers. Brown will lead Facebook’s News Partnership unit. In that role, she will try to portray Facebook’s massive and growing subscriber base as an incredibly valuable resource for media companies.

While Facebook has tried to appease media publishers with a portfolio of services and tools to support their trade, many media organizations are still reluctant to embrace Facebook’s proposals like publishing directly on its Instant Articles feature. The major concern over the use of Instant Articles is that it could give Facebook too much control over news, allowing the company to someday censor stories at will.

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Persuading media publishers to accept Facebook

Aware of the doubts media companies have about Facebook’s news agenda, Brown said in a Facebook post that she will work with media organizations to help them understand how Facebook can grow their businesses. Facebook’s pitch to news publishers has been that it can increase their readership and help them generate more advertising revenue.

Besides Instant Articles, Facebook has launched a live video service to support live video broadcast. The New York Times (NYT) is one of Facebook’s live video partners.

Facebook is courting media publishers at a time when an increasing number of Internet users are turning to the platform for news. However, Facebook’s media ambitions pit it against Twitter (TWTR), Apple (AAPL), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google.

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