The News media is in big trouble. You won’t read about their impending demise or hear about their financial woes in the news because, well … why would they broadcast that news? But it’s true nonetheless.
So while the Mainstream media outlets continue to bury and promote stories solely for ideological concerns, political correctness and to further their “narratives” rather than traditional “Hard News” editorial reasons, they continue to alienate half or more of their potential readership.
Those alienated readers have to go somewhere to get their news fix, and that destination has primarily been the various social media and tech sites.
Numbers are coming out now that show that as media firms have lost control and market-share of news content, social media tech platforms are seeing their news readerships (and revenue from news) drastically increasing.
The reason that the media has been losing so much market share is obvious to anyone looking. News consumers are getting their news from social media as a result and any growth of mainstream media consumption doesn’t seem to be in the cards for many (most?) mainstream news media outlets these days. Without eyeballs, there is no incentive to advertise with them. No money means no newspaper, radio or TV station.
Notice however that the social media sites are starting off by engaging in similar practices as those of the dying traditional news providers.
They’re already sacrificing credibility for ideology and for clicks. They always were simply lying about news “Crowd sourcing”.
The FaceBook News Feed, Google News, Reddit’s r/news feed, Twitter trending, Instagram, you name one … all of them misrepresent so-called “Crowd sourced” news feeds that are really nothing more than run-of-the-mill centrally managed, left leaning edited news.
Social Media claims of “User driven” content are simply marketing (let’s not call it a lie) and have very little basis in reality.
When I wrote about Facebook skewing its “trending news” feed, I predicted that “you won’t read about those on Facebook’s news feed”, but I was surprised to see that because I and countless other people posted the story directly to Facebook (and other social media platforms) it actually turns out that a very large number of news readers learned about the controversy… while reading about it on Facebook in spite of it’s exclusion from the “Trending News” Feed.
Here is the post: Facebook censoring “trending” news is just the tip of the iceberg. In defense of my prediction, I still never saw that story show up on the actual FB “Trending News” Feed.
Shortly thereafter a number of other stories of social media censorship appeared. I posted about Claims that Google Is Manipulating Search Results for Clinton’s Campaign which only became a big story once it started to go viral, the Mainstream media buried that story entirely.
The European Union brokered a censorship agreement with Facebook Google, Microsoft, Twitter and others. I talked about that here: Political Correctness, Crypto-fascism and the Death of the Internet. Funny thing, there was never any mention of who it is that actually gets to do the censorship flagging. There was also no mention of the EU censorship agreement in the trending news feed of any Social Media provider that I’m aware of.
Reddit started to censor Trump supporters after their strict censorship of the /news subreddit of posts about the Orlando Shootings backfired and only chased commentors over to a less heavily moderated Trump subreddit. Reddit mods decided to make lemonade from that lemon and were only too happy to keep bringing the censorship hammer down on Trump comments.
Since the Reddit censorship experiment seemed to go rather easy for the Reddit censors, (only a little complaining from right wingers – who’s opinions don’t really count because, you know … racists) Reddit Mods are now routinely censoring news of many major events. Recently it was reported that Reddit is censoring speech on multiple subreddits Following the bombings in Istanbul.
Heck even Wikipedia censorship has gotten more intense (which I didn’t think was even possible). Just yesterday Wikipedia removed the Orlando shooting from the ‘Islamist Terror Attack’ Wikipedia list. This is an escalating pattern with Wikipedia. Last year Wikipedia was trying to eliminate the Federalist’s entire Wikipedia Entry
Youtube also recently announced an update to their Anti-Harrassment policy which sounds more like an announcement of a “Crackdown” on speech that they don’t like.
Newly censored Youtubers seem concerned by the site’s new “Anti-Harassment Policy” and unsurprisingly some Youtube contributors are questioning the intended scope of Youtube’s new censorship policy.
Is anyone sensing a pattern here?
I keep using the term crypto-Fascist for a reason.
There is no doubt that ALL of the Social Media speech censors would tell you that they are most definitely NOT Fascists, but looking at their activities you also know that they possess ideologically totalitarian views and want to control ideas, and censor any subject matter that they don’t agree with.
The First Amendment protects against censorship imposed by politicians passing laws, but it does’t give any protection against corporate censorship. The only recourse the public has when confronted with corporate censorship is to pressure the censors to “stop doing that”. Either by contacting them and voicing your objections, or via the passive aggressive voice of a market driven approach, stop consuming their product, and go to a competitor.
That may seem an unlikely recourse because these companies seem to be so large.
However the Internet is a nebulous thing. High traffic websites become abandoned backwaters in a big hurry. Remember that Yahoo was once THE search engine, Digg was THE news aggregator, and MySpace was THE social media platform.
Who uses them now?
So keep a jaundiced eye looking for signs of censorship on your favorite news provider. It’s important to the free expression of ideas, and to a free and open exchange of those ideas on the Internet. If you see censorship, make a big deal out of it.
Because it is a big deal.
So Why is this issue so important?
Because if you don’t resist censorship in the public square, the government will get the idea that it can and should start “officially” censoring, with the public square this time being … the Internet.
Today the FCC and FEC commissioners have both issued warnings that Federal regulation of the Internet is coming soon.
Update: Constantine XI says that HotGas Media WILL NOT COMPLY With the Coming FCC/FEC Regulation of Blogs, and then calmly explains why. Heh.