CMDS's Marius Dragomir Talks to CNN about State-Sponsored Media

Marius Dragomir, director of the Center for Media, Data and Society talked to CNN about Facebook’s plans to label state-controlled media. CMDS contributed to the development of the definition.

Facebook will apply labels to pages connected to state-sponsored media, to inform people whether these outlets are under government’s control. As the company wrote in a blog post: “We will hold these Pages to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state.”

The labels will appear on Facebook pages first, they will be added to posts and Instagram pages later next year.

CNN reports that Facebook was due to start labeling in November, but, as a spokesperson of the social media giant told the news channel, “it is coming soon”.

Facebook consulted with experts from “more than 40 outside global organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, the European Journalism Center, UNESCO and the Center for Media, Data and Society,” the New York Times wrote a few weeks ago.

“Marius Dragomir, director of the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University, helped advise Facebook on how to identify state-controlled media,” CNN reports now.

According to Dragomir, Facebook should keep three factors in mind: “ownership and who chooses the leadership, where the funding comes from, and the existence of a mechanism that ensures editorial independence,”, he told CNN. The most difficult factor to measure is the existence of editorial independence, he added.

Dragomir also told CNN that he appreciated Facebook's plans, and that they appear be “more nuanced about” their approach than YouTube, and they “understand the complexity of the phenomenon.”

Even if Facebook “makes mistakes I think it's a good start to make people start thinking of transparency in all kinds of forms,” he added.