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Rebekah Brooks set to return to News Corp to head up social media unit

Former chief executive of the now-defunct News International Rebekah Brooks is closing in on a return to its parent business News Corp that would include leading its social media news agency, just eight months after she was cleared of all charges in the phone hacking scandal.

The media executive’s responsibilities are still being firmed up but will likely see her assume oversight of Storyful, a social media content business News Corp bought last year for $25m. Further details on Brooks’ return are scant and it is understood that a contract has not yet been finalised or signed.

Should the move, which News Corp declined to comment on, happen then it could see Brooks migrate from the UK to Storyful’s Dublin base before moving on to the US to assume her broader role. Reports from The Mail on Sunday and the Financial Times claim Brooks’ role will lean toward driving the publisher’s digital agenda.

News Corp, along with its peers, is racing to cement its digital offering as it looks to capitalise on a growing thirst from advertisers for editorial content targeted to high value audiences. The publisher teased its own plans for the space when it acquired Storyful and claimed that through the purchase it could extend the agency’s “village square for valuable video” across “borders, languages and platforms”.

Consequently, Storyful could represent a controversy-free re-entry point to News Corp for Brooks. She resigned from her role as chief executive of News International, News Corp’s publishing arm, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World tabloid in 2011. She was cleared of phone hacking and three other charges last June.

Since the trial, Brooks has reportedly been sighted at News Corp’s New York headquarters and is said to have remained in close contact with its owner Rupert Murdoch.

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