Top Brazilian paper to stop publishing on Facebook

SAO PAULO • One of Brazil's top newspapers, Folha de S. Paulo, has said it would stop publishing on its Facebook page after the social network announced it would give personal content more visibility.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the shift in the configuration of what the News Feed would allow last month, saying it would foster more "meaningful social interactions" for users.

But the paper said last Thursday that the change would simply "promote the spread of fake news".

"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," the Sao Paulo-based newspaper said in a statement.

The daily also said the proportion of its readers accessing content via Facebook had dropped to 24 per cent last December from about 39 per cent early last year.

Facebook has been under fire for months for the proliferation of Russian-created "fake news" on the platform that may have affected the 2016 US presidential election.

Folha stressed it would keep its Facebook page but not update it. Readers would still be able to share articles from the paper on their personal accounts.

Brazilian media group Globo temporarily stopped publishing content on the leading social network in 2013, before reversing course the following year.

Online media specialist Renato Cruz said Folha's decision comes in a new media landscape, in which newspapers rely on digital subscriptions.

The measure will change the way in which readers access the newspaper's content, he said, but does not necessarily deal Facebook a blow.

"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," Mr Cruz said.

Founded in 1921, Folha is Brazil's largest newspaper and boasts 5.95 million followers on Facebook.

Brazil is among the top five most active countries on Facebook, with more than 100 million users.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2018, with the headline 'Top Brazilian paper to stop publishing on Facebook'. Print Edition | Subscribe