(Photo: Reuters/Tan Shung Sin)
In response to mounting rumors, a spokesman for major social networking site Facebook denies that it will be creating an online news publication.
Jonathan Thaw, manager of corporate communications for Facebook, told The Christian Post that although Facebook hired journalist Dan Fletcher as a "managing editor" there were no plans to create a news publication.
"Basically Dan is joining the communications team and he is helping with corporate relations," said Thaw.
"Dan will help manage Facebook's own corporate communications channels, such as our Pages and blogs, which contain news and information about Facebook."
Recently, rumors have circulated that Facebook will be launching an online news publication. According to Emil Protalinski of ZDNet, not only has Facebook hired Fletcher to be a "managing editor," but they also registered three domain names with the word "newsroom" in the URL.
"So, why did Facebook just hire a Managing Editor? There are a couple of plausible reasons," wrote Protalinski.
"It's possible that Fletcher will simply work in public relations, keep other journalists informed about what Facebook is up to, and generally managed the press."
Thaw said the domain name purchases were "for our press center" and had nothing to do with the possible creation of a news outlet.
"People are putting two and two together and getting three," said Thaw.
Fletcher's own background is a mixture of journalism and social media. Rich Gordon, a professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, had Fletcher as a student.
In an interview with CP, Gordon explained that back in 2009 he began an experimental class that focused on the "science of social networks" and applying the knowledge "to the world of media and journalism."
While taking his class, Fletcher was working at Time Magazine "doing social media" related work, including a cover story for Time focusing on Facebook and Privacy.
Because of his work with Time, Gordon said Fletcher "brought experience" to the class and was "an outstanding student."
"Not only was he fully engaged in the class, he brought real world experience to the class," said Gordon.
In addition to working for Time, Fletcher has also served as photo editor at Northwestern's student paper and Social Media director for Bloomberg – all in the span of about six years.
"Fletcher hasn't held a job for more than three years," wrote Protalinski. "Let's see how long he'll stay at Facebook as Managing Editor."