Episode
May 19, 2016

Do social media giants control the future of news?

Greater involvement of tech companies in the world of journalism presents questions.
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Facebook is under scrutiny after former employees recently claimed they suppressed conservative news from the site’s “Trending” section. Former content curators also said they injected stories into the section, even if they had not organically gone viral. Facebook has denied the allegations, but the controversy has sparked a broader conversation about the role social media platforms play in presenting, editing and curating news content.

Over the past few years, many of these companies - Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook - have built their editorial teams, and their reach. Facebook now has 1.65 billion active users, and in the United States in particular, more people are getting news from the site. The same goes for Twitter, where an even greater proportion of users follow breaking news than on Facebook. Traditional news publishers have struggled to match these numbers, leading many to partner with social media companies on initiatives like Facebook’s “Instant Articles” and Snapchat’s “Discover”.  This has led some to argue these tech companies have transformed from neutral forums for unfiltered content distribution, into news organisations with editorial leanings.

So, to what extent are social media companies controlling the way we consume news?  And what does all this mean for the future of digital journalism?

On today's episode, we speak with: 

 

Christopher Mims @mims

Technology Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

 

Trevor Timm @trevortimm

Co-Founder, Freedom of the Press Foundation

 

Kate Gardiner @kategardiner

Audience Engagement Specialist

 

Aram Sinnreich @aram

Associate Professor, American University


What do you think? Leave your views in the comment section below. 

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