Facebook reportedly shelved report over fears it could make the company look bad

From CNET: Facebook decided not to publicize a report about its most-viewed content in the first three months of the year because of concerns the data could make the company look bad, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Citing internal emails, the Times said Alex Schultz, Facebook's chief marketing officer and vice president of analytics, and other executives debated whether the results of the report would harm Facebook's image. The report showed that the most-viewed link in the first quarter was a news article from The South Florida Sun Sentinel republished by The Chicago Tribune with the headline "A 'healthy' doctor died two weeks after getting a COVID-19 vaccine; CDC is investigating why." The Epoch Times, a far-right media outlet, was also the 19th-most-popular page on the platform.

The revelation raises questions about whether Facebook is selectively publishing data that helps the company fight back against concerns that polarizing content spreads widely on the platform. The Biden administration and other politicians have also urged the social network to do more to combat COVID-19 misinformation that could make people hesitant to get vaccinated.

Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment. Andy Stone, a spokesman for the company, tweeted that "we ultimately held it because there were fixes we needed to make." He also pointed out that the most-viewed headline came from an authoritative news source. On Saturday, following the publication of the Times article, Facebook released the report.

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