The recent decisions taken by the greatest providers of digital content to block fake news and announcements and to decide which kinds of information can or can not enter their traffic channels, are creating a new hyper-capacity in social communications in the world.
The traditional presets in which the media maintained control of relations with users and customers has been replaced, gradually, by a very few companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, which monopolize the distribution of online content.
They receive, in turn, the highest revenues from digital advertising and the payment services they offer, such as music, movies, messaging and technological applications that allow the users to seize their mobile devices’ perks as much as possible.
Many of these companies have also became advertising agencies that place suggestions on the different platforms under their control, without having the printed media that their digital platforms own benefit from such deployment.
They play a decisive role by discriminating which type of news they will be offering and which they won’t, even though they are not the direct producers of those contents but rather powerful distributors or intermediaries of them.
Traditional media doesn’t know how to avoid this powerful control, which is becoming more and more obvious and extensive because such providers have the financial capacity to pay for research and the production of new technologies.
If the media were prepared to create their own applications or long-range distribution platforms to dodge this protagonism of intermediaries, I still doubt they’d get enough oxygen to compete with these large ones.
Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest circulation newspaper, shifted away from Facebook’s might, and decided to stop publishing its contents in this popular website after an algorithm was established to give more relevance to other personal interaction contents, rather than to the news themselves.
We don’t know if this opens the doors to a trend that other outstanding newspapers of the world could imitate. But it sets a precedent.
Under this scenario in which a small group of companies manage the entire flow of global information, we should ask ourselves what would be the direction taken by the free press since what seems the most interesting here are the profits that contents of large viewership produce, not the legitimate right of every citizen to be fully informed of everything that happens, without electronic or other restrictions.
What would be, then, the future of free and independent journalism, which has traditionally focused on the defense of the democratic system under which the access of all citizens to information and free expression of their ideas is guaranteed?
– Translated from spanish by Randy Rodriguez.