Handelsblatt: German publishers cozy up to weather social media storm. “Seven of Germany’s largest publishers unveiled a new powerhouse alliance that they hope will bolster print media against the growing dominance of social media. Three of Germany’s three largest media groups — Burda, Bauer and Funke Group — have joined forces with other well-known imprints such as Axel Springer and Spiegel Publishing, behind the investigative magazine Der Spiegel, in what’s being called a ‘publishers coalition’.”
The Guardian: YouTube promotes conspiracy videos attacking Florida’s shooting survivors. “YouTube is promoting conspiracy theory videos claiming that survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting are ‘crisis actors’, in the latest example of technology companies failing to tackle disinformation.”
Search Engine Land: Google drops support for meta news keywords tag. “Google has dropped its support for the news meta keywords tag. Google introduced the new meta keywords tag specifically for news publishers back in 2012 and quietly stopped supporting it months ago.”
Columbia Journalism Review: The Facebook Armageddon. “As digital advertising continues to decline as a source of revenue thanks to Google and Facebook, many media companies are having to rely increasingly on subscriptions. But the readers they want to reach are all on Facebook consuming content for free. Places like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal have the kinds of international brands that will allow them to continue to be advertising destinations and also get the lion’s share of subscriptions. But where does that leave mid-market papers that don’t have the scale or the reach?”
Monday Note: Facebook has a Big Tobacco Problem. “Facebook never sought to be the vector of in-depth knowledge for its users, or a mind-opener to a holistic view of the world. Quite the opposite. It encouraged everyone (news publishers for instance) to produce and distribute the shallowest possible content, loaded with cheap emotion, to stimulate sharing. It fostered the development of cognitive Petri dishes in which people are guarded against any adverse opinion or viewpoint, locking users in an endless feedback loop that has become harmful to democracy. Facebook knew precisely what it was building: a novel social system based on raw impulse, designed to feed an advertising monster that even took advantage of racism and social selectiveness (read ProPublica’s investigation on the matter).”
Columbia Journalism Review: Erasing history. “In the 21st century, more and more information is ‘born digital’ and will stay that way, prone to decay or disappearance as servers, software, Web technologies, and computer languages break down. The task of internet archivists has developed a significance far beyond what anyone could have imagined in 2001, when the Internet Archive first cranked up the Wayback Machine and began collecting Web pages; the site now holds more than 30 petabytes of data dating back to 1996. (One gigabyte would hold the equivalent of 30 feet of books on a shelf; a petabyte is a million of those.) Not infrequently, the Wayback Machine and other large digital archives, such as those in the care of the great national and academic libraries, find themselves holding the only extant copy of a given work on the public internet. This responsibility is increasingly fraught with political, cultural, and even legal complications.”
TechCrunch: Fake news is an existential crisis for social media . “The claim and counter claim that spread out around ‘fake news’ like an amorphous cloud of meta-fakery, as reams of additional ‘information’ — some of it equally polarizing but a lot of it more subtle in its attempts to mislead (for e.g., the publicly unseen ‘on background’ info routinely sent to reporters to try to invisible shape coverage in a tech firm’s favor) — are applied in equal and opposite directions in the interests of obfuscation; using speech and/or misinformation as a form of censorship to fog the lens of public opinion. This bottomless follow-up fodder generates yet more FUD in the fake news debate. Which is ironic, as well as boring, of course. But it’s also clearly deliberate.” One of those articles that deserves a better headline than it gets. A deep dive with lots of links to other news articles and background. Very good stuff.