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Media firms lose control of news as tech platforms rise

Bergen record Newspaper-vending-machine2

file photo by Boyd Loving

Rob Lever•June 29, 2016

Washington (AFP) – When allegations emerged that Facebook was skewing its trending news stories, many learned about it… on Facebook.

That underscored the rapid shift in media — not only is news moving from print to digital, but Facebook, Google and other tech platforms are increasingly becoming the main gateways for information.

Technology and social media firms are increasingly playing a role in filtering and delivering news, often with automated feeds, algorithms and “bots” designed to determine the most relevant articles.

That means the news industry is rapidly losing control of the news along with the revenue that goes with it, underscoring the profound changes in the journalism world.

“In the past 18 months, companies including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google have moved from having an arm’s length relationship with journalism to being dominant forces in the news ecosystem,” said a June report by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

“By encouraging news publishers to post directly onto new channels, such as Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover, tech companies are now actively involved in every aspect of journalism.”

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