The Onion’s Editor-in-Chief Explains Why He’s Going to War Against Facebook (FB)

by Rob Price

  • The Onion has launched a campaign against Facebook, even announcing its own spoof social network.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, the satirical news site’s editor-in-chief said Facebook is throttling its traffic and should consider paying publishers who use the platform.
  • The Onion isn’t pulling any punches — even joking that Mark Zuckerberg’s wife has left him for the CEO of “Onion Social.”

The Onion has declared war on Facebook — and now it’s getting personal.

Over the past few days, the satirical news site has published a barrage of articles mocking the social network, culminating with the announcement on Monday of “Onion Social,” a new spoof social network that promises users “access to unfettered information, unparalleled reportage, and unmatched connectivity to friends and family without regard to the consequences.”

In an interview with Business Insider, The Onion‘s editor-in-chief Chad Nackers said the anti-Facebook campaign has been prompted by how the company has throttled the traffic it sends to The Onion and other publishers in attempts to make them pay for ads.

“We’ve developed a big audience. That audience is hanging out on Facebook looking at things and it seems like we should be able to reach them,” Nackers said. “It seems like [Facebook is] taking another thing away from us by saying ‘well you can’t reach the people who follow your page unless you spend money.'” (Scroll down for the full interview.)

“You wouldn’t expect HBO to just give all their programs for free to a cable network. There would be some kind of carriage fee or something,” Nackers said.

And he said that Facebook’s efforts to clamp down on “fake news” may be hurting parody sites like The Onion, though Facebook responded that that’s not the case.

“I can’t prove that that has happened, but I feel that since 2016, since post-election, it has felt like … Anyone can report that this is ‘fake news,’ and unfortunately that’s what people do,” Nackers told Business Insider.

No punches are being pulled in The Onion‘s assault on Facebook

The Onion has published more than a dozen articles about Facebook since Thursday — and it’s not pulling any punches. One of the first poked fun of the 34-year-old CEO: Mark Zuckerberg Insists Anyone With Same Skewed Values And Unrelenting Thirst For Power Could Have Made Same Mistakes. A particularly dark op-ed pretended to be Mark Zuckerberg’s baby daughter, telling him: “Daddy, I Don’t Want To Live In The World Your Website Has Created.”

The “child” wrote:

“Come on, Daddy. The whole thing is so completely obvious. All you and your website do is hurt people. I mean, really, what you did to journalism alone! You created a platform that cripples publishers and severely limits the reach of their content. Facebook made it so hardly anyone can afford to pay reporters anymore. And it made people stop trusting the news. Don’t you understand how essential a free press is to preserving our democracy? Don’t you know anything about the Constitution?

“Christ, Daddy, didn’t you go to Harvard?”