MENLO PARK, CA: Facebook has declined to exempt ads for publishers’ news content from inclusion in an archive of political ads and suggested they could simply pause their advertising while the platform builds a separate archive to address their concerns.

On Monday an alliance of more than 20,000 publishers from around the world wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighting their concerns.

“Placing news ads in an archive designed to capture political advertising implies that Facebook considers there is a political agenda behind journalism,” they said.

“This is not a marketing or business issue. We see your policy as another step toward furthering a false and dangerous narrative that blurs the lines between real reporting from the professional media and propaganda.”

They demanded that all marketing by news organizations remain outside any archive “until full solutions are put into place” and that all advertising by news organizations be treated as general advertising and not placed into the political category “by the mere fact that it mentions politics or issues”.

While Facebook has agreed that there will be two separate archives, one labelled ‘political ads’ and one labelled ‘news platforms’, these will not be in place for several months yet.

“Publishers who are worried about being clumped in at this point in time can pause their advertising, “ Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of global news partnerships, told an Axios Media Trends event.

Brown also rejected the suggestion that the platform’s recruitment of “news credibility specialists” signalled it could be redefined as a media company.

“Facebook is not a news organization. We’re not becoming a news organization,” she stressed.

“Having more people on my team, on our standards team, who understand journalism and the principles behind it is a good thing,” said Brown.

“And it’s not to do journalism but to bring the ideas and the understanding of what it’s like to work in a newsroom and what newsrooms need into the Facebook environment.”

Axios also reported that Facebook is planning to launch 20 news shows for its video platform Watch by the end of the summer.

Sourced from Axios Media Trends, News Media Alliance; additional content by WARC staff