November 28, 2019
In days long past, a news story would have to convince several people to reach print. Firstly, a reporter would have to be convinced to write it. The reporter would then have to convince his editor to run it. If successful, the story would appear online and in print. These days, however, there’s another person who must be convinced — Mark Zuckerberg.
The Facebook CEO reminded us of his burgeoning role as America’s de facto editor-in-chief during the controversy over alleged “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella. Numerous conservative media outlets, including Breitbart News, were prevented from posting stories naming Ciaramella as the alleged whistleblower on Facebook.
The stories are still available on the websites of those news sites, of course. But in a world where 52 percent of Americans get their news directly from Facebook, that’s becoming less and less acceptable. Mark Zuckerberg is now an information gatekeeper to half the country, picking and choosing what news they read.
Meanwhile, his company still claims in court that they shouldn’t be subject to the laws that govern regular publishers, like defamation. The nerve!
A dwindling number of sites can rely on traffic from outside of Facebook to stay afloat. For others, their very existence is governed by unaccountable Facebook executives in Silicon Valley. One algorithm change is all that’s required for years of work to go up in smoke.
This article was posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 at 3:47 am