Facebook promoted its Product Manager Alex Hardiman to Head of News Products, the company's new media chief announced in a Facebook post published on Monday. The firm's latest appointment was made after an extensive search for a media expert that would help the Menlo Park-based social media giant stop the dissemination of misleading, factually inaccurate, and purposefully false news stories on its online platform. While many industry watchers were speculating that Facebook might occupy the newly created position with someone from outside the firm, the job ended up going to Hardiman, a graduate of Columbia University who has been working for the News and Mobile divisions of The New York Times for over a decade.
Before joining Facebook as a Product Manager in late summer of 2016, Hardiman served as the Vice President of News Products at The New York Times for 18 months. Her previous accomplishments include revamping the well-known publication's online offerings and shifting its focus to mobile devices in an effort to stay in tune with the ongoing digitalization of the media industry. As the Head of News Products at Facebook, Hardiman won't only seek to combat fake news but will also be working on developing completely new products, services, and storytelling formats, the company's new executive revealed in her Monday Facebook post. Hardiman will now be reporting directly to Fidji Simo, Facebook's Vice President of Product, and will also work closely with the firm's chief of news partnerships Campbell Brown.
The company's newly appointed Head of News Products implied her new team will seek to improve the overall quality of journalism featured on the most popular social network on the planet by developing more capable tools and services for journalists, in addition to working on innovative news formats and improving Facebook's existing products like Instant Articles. It's currently unclear how many of Hardiman's responsibilities will be related to fighting the spread of fake news on Facebook, but her Monday announcement wasn't particularly focused on that activity, though reports from April suggested that the Menlo Park-based company created her new role largely due to tackling the issue of false online stories.