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YouTube CEO to Facebook: 'get back to baby pictures'



Google’s Susan Wojcicki joins chorus attacking Facebook, while social network says it doesn’t know what people ‘find meaningful’

Wojcicki’s own company is facing intense criticism over its handling of shock-jock vlogger Logan Paul.






Wojcicki’s own company is facing intense criticism over its handling of shock-jock vlogger Logan Paul.
Photograph: FilmMagic

YouTube’s chief executive, Susan Wojcicki, joined a lineup of tech and media executives lambasting Facebook at a conference in California.

Wojcicki, whose own company is facing intense criticism over its handling of shock-jock vlogger Logan Paul, suggested Facebook should head further down the path it started on when it announced plans in January to de-prioritise news content.

“They should get back to baby pictures,” Wojcicki told Code Media in Los Angeles. And she wasn’t the only one using the stage to attack Facebook, which has become one of the industry’s favourite punching bags in recent months.

Buzzfeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti joined in, arguing that Facebook should extend its revenue sharing practices to the news feed itself. “Most of Facebook’s revenue is in News Feed, and that’s where they’ve not shared revenue,” Peretti told the conference.



The social network does split advertising revenue from instant articles, or videos posted to the site, but Peretti argued that that isn’t enough. “These are places with a lot less distribution so there’s a lot less revenue.”

But Peretti’s broad advice for Facebook was the exact opposite of Wojcicki’s: the social network, he said, needs legitimate news content, because otherwise it will be overrun with bad actors. “Facebook will have no chance to control what’s in News Feed if the only lever they have is traffic, because the only way to say ‘we want influence over this content’ is if you have a lever of content and a lever of revenue.”

Facebook defended itself at the conference, with the company’s head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, and news parternships manager Campbell Brown, arguing that it was trying to help publishers in other ways. Brown argued that the perception that Facebook is a blank slate for all types of content is wrong, noting that the site is fine with “leaning into quality news” and “broadly trusted publishers” at the expense of clickbait.

Mosseri said that Facebook “integrity effort” was based on the company’s “values” and “standards”, but warned that it wasn’t entirely certain how it was going to do that.

A stated goal to increase users’ “time well spent” was stymied, he said, by the lack of clarity around what that means. “We’re trying to figure out how to best measure and understand that [and] trying to understand … what people actually find meaningful.”



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