Secret info surrounding claims should be open to the public
Last month, I wrote about how social media is both good and bad. We can connect with old friends, but we must wade through the mire that is fake news, insults and other detritus of people with too much time on their hands.
This week, I came across an article that piqued my interest. A top official in the Dow Jones and Company news agency (publisher of The Wall Street Journal and other business publications) took Facebook and Google to task.
“Guys, you are killing the news,” Will Lewis said. “You are killing news and you’ve got to recognize this.”
Both of these organizations claim not to be news agencies, but they promote stories packaged around others’ content. And both have done their part to decimate the real news industry by pilfering advertising revenues.
I compare our product — our newspaper, website — to a Snicker’s bar for comparison. I like it to look neat on the shelves, as do the Snickers folks.
And just like a Snickers, some people want to pay for our product. We have a thing called a copyright, which supposedly protects us from someone clipping our news and pasting it into their competing product. If I took Snickers bars and put another wrapper outside of it and sold it, I’d quickly hear from the Mars, Inc. chocolate company’s lawyers.
Online, Facebook and Google sell competing ads around many of the stories that news organizations have produced. They claim the need for the best “user experience,” so they make the news organizations jump through hoops, then expect that we’ll be happy with their algorithm that gets our story in front of about 6 to 20 percent of the people who have “liked” our page. We could even go viral, they promise, much like musicians are asked to play for free “for the exposure.”
It’s even more insidious when you consider that some out there purposely produce fake news for political or simply money-making purposes. Yet Google and Facebook promote these without deference to what’s real or not. (Witness, the election stories about the Pope endorsing Trump or the president-elect winning the popular vote — both untrue, yet both ranked at the top of these organizations’ story rankings.)
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