How Facebook is attempting to strangle journalism
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On the 11th of January Mark Zuckerberg released his plans for what can only be described as the new Zuckerberg doctrine which promotes 'meaningful interaction' on Facebook. This doctrine hides its much more dangerous intention. In a paternalistic fervour, Facebook wants to upgrade itself from Big Brother to Big Daddy. The changes being implemented in the Facebook feed algorithm favour posts from family and friends over organizations' posts. This will mean a decided decrease in posts from media and news organizations (I dare say such as this one) in Facebook news feeds. The justification for this change is Zuckerberg's desire to make Facebook 'good for people's well-being', and to 'bring people closer together' in order to make Facebook 'time well spent'. It comes following the recent accusations of Facebook's role in spreading of disinformation that especially affected the 2016 American presidential campaign. In his comments outlining his doctrine, Zuckerberg said he wished to reduce 'passive content' which is content that we scroll or blankly watch before moving on. However, there is a complete inversion of passivity in the plan outlined. Zuckerberg begins by saying research has shown being more connected to family and friends leads to happiness and well-being, however 'passively reading articles or watching videos —even if they're entertaining or informative—may not be as good'. In this redefinition, it is passive to read and watch something, even if it is informative, but it is active to use the social aspects of Facebook. The proposed solution to this problem is the hiding away of established journalism, as well as the divisive issues of importance that actually fires people up into a discussion. It is also helpful to look at what is not considered 'passive'.
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