“This actually makes me a little bit uncomfortable,” said Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of News Feed, to a packed room of journalists and members of the public on Friday.
Mosseri was there to explain how Facebook News Feed works, and to share new projects related to news discovery and “integrity” the company is working on for its close to 2 billion global users. What made Mosseri uncomfortable, he said, was giving a sneak peek at new products they were testing — products that might never be fully rolled out.
“We don’t generally share much about what we’re doing before we do it,” he said.
Those in the audience could be forgiven for thinking Mosseri was talking less about his product road map and more about being in that room at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. Almost exactly two years before, Andy Mitchell, the company’s director of global media partnerships, gave a keynote that is now viewed by attendees of the IJF as something of a PR disaster.
Mitchell’s prepared remarks back in 2015 weren’t the issue. It was his handling of questions about difficult topics such as censorship and Facebook’s responsibilities as a platform that stuck with people.
“Do you think that you are accountable for the quality and integrity of your decisions to your community of users?” asked George Brock of City, University of London, to applause from the audience.