Jack Werner. Photo: Adam JönssonJack Werner. Photo: Adam Jönsson

Facebook cancelled interview with Swedish reporter seen as too critical

Publicerad: 29 February 2016, kl. 9:45

A Swedish reporter has been banned from visiting Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The reason: He’s seen as too critical and knowledgeable about the social media giant, according to the paper that hired him.

Adam Jönsson

Freelance journalist Jack Werner had been commissioned by daily Svenska Dagbladet to write about online hate. Werner is widely seen as one of the most knowledgeable Swedish reporters when it comes to the Internet and social media.

One of Werner’s stories for Svenska Dagbladet was about threatening messages on Facebook. As the paper got ready to publish the story, its editor-in-chief, Fredric Karén contacted Facebook for an interview at its European headquarters.

Facebook agreed and sat a date. But when the social media giant realized the paper wanted to send Werner, it cancelled the interview, Karén writes in a column published on SvD.se Sunday.

‘‘Peter Münster [communications director for Facebook in the Nordics] believed Werner already had ‘made up his mind about Facebook and that the program they had sat up was tailored for someone not quite so knowledgeable,’’’ writes Karén.

Facebook said it would agree to an interview in person by a different Svenska Dagbladet reporter or a video interview from Stockholm with Werner.

At first, Karén decided to send another reporter. The reason was that the paper thought an in-person interview would serve the readers the best, the EIC writes in his column.

However, Karén had a change of heart. A few days later he contacted Facebook and said the paper would agree to a video interview carried out by Werner. A few hours later, this, too, was cancelled, according to Karén.

Münster defends Facebook’s actions in an email to Svenska Dagbladet, which has been published online.

‘‘Jack Werner has never been any problem for us. He’s a respected journalist entitled to his opinion and free to write whatever he wants. What we offered SvD was that a reporter, of your choice, could get an opportunity to spend a day at our Dublin office to learn more about our rules to give you as good qualifications as possible to understand an area of which there are many myths,’’ Münster writes in the email. ‘‘But since we’ve already made ourselves available for Jack Werner on several occasions, we assumed this information would be redundant to him.

‘‘I don’t recognize the process that Jack Werner shouldn’t be welcome to Facebook,’’ writes Münster.

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