If more and more people are getting their news via social media, what does that mean for censorship and journalism?
There are some big questions to unpack here, around what’s being called “algorithmic censorship” (where, say, Facebook doesn’t show you breaking news because it doesn’t match the demographic skew of post you’ve previously Liked), as well as just straight-up censorship censorship (governments ordering social media sites to block certain content). The article makes the point that the First Amendment–in the US, which is where most of these companies are based–only applies in the latter instance; private businesses have no obligation here one way or the other (which is how both Fox News and Reddit can exist, I guess). The problem is that a lot of people don’t really realise just how profound content filtering is in services like Facebook and Google; it’s transparent, because it’s designed to be transparent. Meaning we can very easy get “stuck” in little echo chambers of our own socio-political viewpoints, without ever realising what’s happened.
This is all going to get messy, that’s for sure.