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Facebook is seeking a head of news partnerships who remembers what life was like before Facebook

By Alison Griswold

Facebook is looking for a head of news partnerships to oversee its tumultuous relationship with the media.

The company has posted a job opening for an “experienced news executive” to manage its partnerships with news organizations around the world. The person will serve as ”a public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem” as well as an internal coordinator among the news, product, and engineering teams.

Facebook is seeking candidates with at least 20 years of “experience in news”—in other words, people who remember what news looked like before Facebook. In that time, they would have worked in an industry upended as traditional news outlets were overtaken by websites, blogs, and social media platforms as distributors of information.

In 2016, about 40% of all US adults and 50% of those under the age of 50 got their news online, according to Pew Research Center. Just 20% of US adults read it in print newspapers.

Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s current director of news partnerships, came to the company after more than 15 years at CNN and a brief stint at the Daily Beast. Nick Grudin, the VP of media partnerships, spent time as a reporter and in business development for Newsweek before landing at Facebook.

The search for another news veteran comes as Facebook remains under fire for its role in propagating, in the lead-up to the US presidential election, stories that were demonstrably false, such as a claim that the pope had endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially said it was “pretty crazy” to think so-called fake news on his platform played a role in the outcome, an analysis by BuzzFeed found that bogus, hyper-partisan content received significantly more engagement on Facebook in the three months before the election than stories from established news outlets.

Zuckerberg has pushed back against calls for Facebook to become an “arbiter of truth” that vets content on its platform for accuracy. But the company is experimenting with other ways to identify and flag misinformation, like asking its users to weigh in on whether headlines that appear in their news feeds use “misleading language.”

The job listing for the head of news partnerships doesn’t mention anything about fake news or misinformation, and Facebook declined to comment beyond its posting.