On Wednesday, Facebook released a report on what content was most viewed by people in the United States over the past quarter. It was the first time such a report was published. However, according to The New York Times, Facebook was working on a similar report for the first quarter of 2021 that it was unwilling to divulge as it might be a poor reflection of the company.
The New York Times, which received a copy of the report, says the most viewed link in the first quarter had a headline suggesting the reluctance to use COVID-19 vaccines that was a topic on the social media platform. The headline read: “A ‘healthy’ doctor died two weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine; CDC is investigating why. “The article was published by The South Florida Sun Sentinel and republished by The Chicago Tribune, says the New York Times.
Executives feared it might be a public relations issue
Facebook worked on the release of this report, but executives including Alex Schultz, Facebook’s CMO and VP of Analytics, apparently debated “whether it would cause a public relations problem according to internal emails” and ultimately decided not to publish it The York Times reported.
“We considered publishing the report earlier, but knowing that it would attract attention just like this week, there were corrections to the system that we wanted to make,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement. Stone also clarified Schultz’s opinion on whether Facebook should publish the report, saying that Schultz “was committed to getting the report published”.
It’s been a busy week for Facebook. In addition to releasing the report on the top viewing posts, it also had to deal with an amended Federal Trade Commission antitrust complaint against the company.