October 22, 2019

To Save Journalism, Regulate Big Tech

“Google and Facebook recently reported bumper profits for 2018: almost $31 billion and $22 billion, respectively. It mattered little that both companies faced the wrath of lawmakers around the world for spreading fake news and allowing illicit actors to run influential disinformation campaigns using their platforms and technologies.

Meanwhile, news-media companies, including BuzzFeed and Vice, which compete with the big tech platforms for digital advertising spending, announced thousands of job cuts in the first weeks of 2019.

Juxtaposing the tech platforms’ growing might with newsrooms’ shrinking ranks may seem unfair. Google and Facebook aren’t solely responsible for the woes of the news industry. Publishers underestimated the changes that the internet would bring to people’s reading habits and are still struggling to catch up. Some digital players, like Mic, funded by venture capitalists initially succeeded by innovating in spaces, such as online video, ignored by legacy media. But their reliance on the tech platforms to grow their audiences cuts both ways; when the algorithms shift, so can their entire business models, forcing their financiers to rethink investments and valuations, leading to job cuts.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"During the debate on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal in the United Kingdom’s Parliament on Saturday—which ended, as these things often have, with a vote calling for another delay—Johnson exposed the most basic blindness of Brexit..."

"Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, wants to change his story about Ukraine. On Thursday, at a press briefing, Mulvaney confirmed that when President Donald Trump suspended military aid to Ukraine in July, one reason was that..."

"I travelled with Bedouin in the Western Desert of Egypt. When we got a puncture, they used tape and an old inner tube to suck air from three tyres to inflate a fourth. It was the cook who suggested the idea; maybe he was used to making food..."

"The ultrasound technician places the wand on my daughter’s lower abdomen and moves it slowly across taut skin glistening with gel. I’ve been holding my breath since being ushered into the dimly lit cubicle to witness a sonogram that will..."

"Even many Democrats are criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit, in plain words, that her Medicare for All plan will require taxes to increase. They’re right to complain. The point could hardly be simpler: All presidential..."

"How do you update Watchmen for 2019? That might sound like a question with an obvious answer: You just do Watchmen. After all, the graphic novel, which has been consistently in print since its 12-volume run ended in 1987, is pretty terrific..."

"The climactic face-off of the 2019 Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg took place on a wide, sunny plaza, between a statue dedicated to the millions of anonymous miners who had toiled under inhuman..."

"Mark Zuckerberg has rarely been so compelling. Facing increased scrutiny — especially after leaked audio of an internal meeting in which Zuckerberg called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) an existential threat — the Facebook CEO outlined his..."