- Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, is cofounder of a media outlet that has published opinion pieces that sharply criticize Democratic 2020 presidential candidate and noted Big Tech antagonist Elizabeth Warren.
- Brown’s outlet, a nonprofit publication called The 74, is focused on issues around the US public education system. Her role was highlighted on Monday by Judd Legum via his Popular Information newsletter.
- Legum reported that The 74 had published several critical pieces on Warren, a high-profile figure known for advocating the breakup of tech giants Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
- A Facebook spokesman told Business Insider that Brown had been transparent about her role with The 74 for many years. Brown also downplayed the news on Twitter, and said The 74 discussed other political candidates.
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Facebook is on the defensive after news emerged that its head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, cofounded a news site that has been critical of Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
Warren is known for her hardline stance against big tech, vowing to break up Facebook, Amazon and Google were she elected president.
The report was first reported by journalist Judd Legum, and comes barely two weeks after Facebook launched its much-scrutinized news service. Legum argued that Brown’s involvement with The 74 raised questions about Facebook’s new news tab, which has been criticized for featuring the right-wing news site Breitbart.
Brown – a former NBC News anchor who was appointed Facebook’s news chief in January 2017 – cofounded The 74 in July 2015, a nonprofit news site focused on issues related to the US public education system. The site’s name references the approximately 74 million under-18s living in America at the time of its founding.
Legum described a roster of recent opinion pieces as “savaging” Elizabeth Warren.
A closer look at The 74 reveals that it has indeed published multiple recent opinion pieces criticizing Warren and her stances on various education-related issues.
On October 23, it published an article titled: “Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Is Exactly What We Need – If Our Goal Is to Make the Achievement Gap Permanent.”
The writer attacked Warren, calling her “a millionaire who raves about socialism.”
An October 10 opinion article describes Warren “the second coming of Karl Marx,” while an October 24 opinion piece accuses the Oklahoma-born politician of positioning herself “against an institution [the federal Charter School Program] designed to create opportunity for our nation’s children.”
Brown defended her position on Twitter, stating she had been open and transparent about her role at the non-profit news site.
She wrote: “I’m very transparent about being a founder… The 74 is not part of Facebook News and the FB news team does not and has not supported The 74 in any way. I still care deeply about the issues The 74 covers so I remain on the board of directors w/no editorial role and make personal donations (it’s a nonprofit).”
She added that the site had published pieces on other candidates too.
A Facebook spokesman told Business Insider that: “The 74 is not part of Facebook News. Campbell’s work with The 74 is well-known and she’s been transparent about her role with the nonprofit for many years.”
The 74 did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.