Speaking at an event at Washington State University, Fletcher went as far as saying he thought the “biggest mistake” Facebook made was employing him under that job title. Facebook “doesn’t need reporters” he thinks, because “there is no more engaging content Facebook could produce than you [i.e. its users] talking to your family and friends.”
Fletcher only began work at Facebook in January 2012, and was instrumental in Facebook’s “branded journalism” effort in Facebook Stories.
Fletcher added that in his mind Facebook is supposed to be a background to the actions of its users, and when it begins to product content of its own it intrudes into that process.
The departure of Facebook’s editor will spark speculation about the company’s future influencing the flow of the content its users feed through it. The company’s future profitability hinges on processes like this, with advertising and paid services deliberately intruding into user streams.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson has emailed to underline that Facebook Stories has no connection with the News Feed team or News Feed as a product. Fletcher’s departure, it seems, won’t impact what Facebook itself calls “news”.
[Image: Flickr user west.m]