Facebook is suddenly following hundreds of journalists on Twitter

6 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger

Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) has been busy when it comes to following new people on Twitter ($NYSE:TWTR). The Twitter accounts that Facebook follows has jumped from 101 on May 1 to 161 today. It added 21 more just last night.

That's an additional 60% more accounts that Facebook following on its Twitter account in just the past two weeks. It is now following more people on Twitter than ever. 

Interestingly, a large number of the new Twitter accounts Facebook is following belong to journalists who have been critical of Facebook. 

The graph below shows the massive uptick in following that's occuring on Facebook's Twitter account since May 1, 2018.

Zooming in on the past month shows the massive jump in following count:

We've been tracking Following count for Facebook since July 22, 2015. Since that date, the most people Facebook has ever followed on Twitter was 116 on March 30, 2016. After that, it trimmed those it follows to a low of 78 that October. It then kept the number of Twitter users it follows under 100 until just this month.

The accelerated Twitter activity may be part of a concerted effort on the part of Facebook to improve its image among those who have been critical of the social network for its privacy activities via advertising, apps, and private data collection. After revelations related to how Facebook collects and protects private data - and how it allows nefarious actors to use that data - Facebook lost hundreds of thousands of followers.

Of the new accounts Facebook added in the past couple weeks, many are influential journalists who cover - you guessed it - Facebook and privacy. Among them are Ben Collins of NBC, Evan McMurry of ABC, Kevin Roose of The New York Times, and Alyson Shontell, Editor-in-Chief of BusinessInsider. Aside from having the role of "journalist" in common - they've all covered (and many have Tweeted about) Facebook.

It's clear that Facebook is actively working on its social media messaging on Twitter, looking to improve its relationships with influential media figures. It makes sense, too - many of these media figures are active on Twitter as a place to openly vent their thoughts and concerns in a more unfiltered environment.

Facebook is clearly making a concerted effort to engage the on the platform. As to whether or not the journalists will play nice now that Facebook is showing up at their Twitter party, well that remains to be seen.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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