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Facebook criticised by newspaper for reportedly trying to 'control' interview

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By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

March 2, 2016 | 3 min read

Facebook has been accused of attempting to influence how it's portrayed in the media after it allegedly quashing a Swedish neswpaper's choice of reporter to interview its executives.

According to Fredric Karén editor-in-chief of Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), the social network offered the title an interview around its policies following an investigation by freelance social media journalist Jack Werner into abusive posts published on the official pages of senior government officials in Sweden.

Upon finding out that Werner would be the journalist flying over to the firm's Dublin HQ to speak to employees, the newspaper claims that Facebook suggested it send an alternative staff reporter whom it could "educate" about its policies.

Speaking to the Guardian, Karén said that arrangements were then put in place for Werner to conduct the Q&A remotely, with a different journalist set to attend a briefing at Facebook's offices.

After the editor decided this arrangement wouldn't be suitable, he requested a telephone interview only which Facebook seemingly denied.

Of the apparent to and fro, Karén said: “My view about Facebook is that it is a very very non-transparent company, and they seem to have a need to control the information and communication around them, they are not really into surprises.

“It’s the first time we have ever been in the situation where a person or a company asks us not to send a specific reporter. That’s really really unusual," he added.

The Drum reached out to Facebook for comment but at the time of publication had yet to receive a response

A spokesman for the company told the Guardian: “We have invited SvD to our next media day at our headquarters in Dublin following them cancelling an pre-arranged visit. We continue to look forward to have them there.

“We are currently reviewing the content passed on to us and have informed SvD that we will respond early next week.”

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