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Tech Giants and Civic Power


Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College London, and author of Tech Giants and Civic Power, wrote an excellent article for The Observer last weekend, which raises important questions about challenging the powers of the tech superpowers and what we want from social media and who we endorse by giving those powers to. Their dominance stretches far beyond the commercial world into the political and the civic. We therefore need to decide how best to respond to them.

The news agenda is rapidly moving towards folk journalism and DIY news, one which will take away from the monopolies stranglehold on 'reliable' news funding via advertising. The model is changing and, for better or worse, we need new platforms and new ways of collating and corroborating accurate news stories and social comment.

Moore recognises that news is more interactive and more in our hands than ever before. "The brave new world of platform news is one of DIY news. It is a world in which we – the user – produce, publish and promote the news ourselves. It is a world in which we rely on our peers and on those we follow to discover stories. It is one in which we verify news rather than relying on established news organisations and journalists to do it for us. For some, this is an exciting, democratised new digital world. For others, it sounds exhausting, chaotic – a world of fake news and filter bubbles."

The tech giants, driven by ad sales revenue and increasingly by chasing clickbait, have rapidly taken over the role of news providers, opinion formers and social movement power brokers, their algorithms now having profound effect on the stories and news we see but the question now is how can the world's news and comment be brought to us without being dominated by commercial concerns?   "These are not public spaces, they are commercial private spaces, with their own rules and their own means of enforcing them.”

I'm now, as a result of this article, reading his paper, Tech Giants and Civic Power'. More on this later.



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