Donkey Balls!

The explanation is actually almost too simple, I am writing this whilst I am rewatching the Expanse on Bluray (thanks to the awesome sale JB Hifi had 3 weeks ago). I was watching and browsing whilst I got exposed to ‘Media rules must help news providers harness digital platforms’ value’, the link was on LinkedIn and came from Facebook. I do not disagree with the setting, but the entire issue is much larger and has traps on a few levels. That issue is a little less complicated when we consider the news on the daily mail where we see ‘Top Facebook exec says it DID help Donald Trump win but only because ‘he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen. Period.’ And NOT because of Russia’, the claim was apparantly made by Andrew Bosworth and it was in the Daily Mail on January 8th. It is not the claim that is the issue, it is the linked advertisements that the viewer gets. I ended up with advertisements by Telstra and Microsoft. Now, there was nothing wrong with that, yet if I had not clicked on the story, the advertisements would not have come. That is the issue, even newsmakers need to rely on clicks and there is the first issue. Basically the (short) story has the following 2nd headlines:

  • Andrew Bosworth is a longtime senior Facebook executive and confidant of Mark Zuckerberg
  • Bosworth wrote a 2,500 word memo shared internally with Facebook employees that was published on December 30
  • He claimed the Cambridge Analytica scandal was a ‘non-event’ and admitted the Russians did manipulate the U.S. election
  • Bosworth also essentially branded criticism of the company as fake news because the press ‘often gets so many details wrong’ 
  • The memo was initially leaked to the New York Times on Tuesday before the top executive published it in full on his public Facebook account 

5 times to get the clicks, 5 times to get advertisements and the news channels are in the setting to get CLICKS, making the quality of news debatable and there is the larger issue. When the news becomes a commercial vessel, how can it be trusted?

SO when I looked at the news (according to the Sydney Morning Herald) we get: “It would allow news publishers and digital platforms that distribute news to continue building on existing commercial arrangements, and support the development of a Digital News Council to advance cross-industry collaboration. It would also encourage more transparency for significant changes to the ranking of news content in News Feed and guarantee to publishers we’ll continue to share measurement data on how their content performs on Facebook as well as insights on their audiences, without sharing personal user information.” Here I see that there are optional ‘agreements’ on the sharing of revenue (which I do not debate, or wonder whether that is wrong), yet I do wonder about who has the stronger pull. Revenue based decisions, or news quality decisions and the ambiguity of it deepens the innate mistrust in me and the mistrust of the optional news that it breeds. So the quote “It would allow news publishers and digital platforms that distribute news to continue building on existing commercial arrangements” sets the steps for commercially inclined news, not neutral based and news baked news. It ends up not getting the clicks and that is the larger problem. The digital problem is that there needs to be space for news to set the parameters, yet the click is what gets the revenue and they tend to be on opposite sides of coins of different currency. Better stated was the Expanse response, which was ‘It really is Donkey balls’, the settings a larger one and those relying on click based revenue would not be interested in slaughtering the goose with the golden egg and I get that. But we need to move the news into another stage of the media, now making it revenue based, all whilst those participating should require to pay these newsagents something, it was their material used.

So whether we accept that the previous elections used a much better digital profile, we need to take the news out of it, and give them their own digital channel, not set to a click based system. It requires new levels of innovation on digital media and we all better accept that fast. 

What is the solution?

I actually do not know, but in part it will be creating awareness with the people, they need to realise that they are part of that problem, they are the inquisitive types and usually that is not a problem, yet the push the click based activities forward and at the point they become part of the problem. As I see it, the news might be part of social media, yet they should not be part of the click based equation and until the news starts realising that, as well as the fact that their shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers are part of the problem and not part of the solution, this issue will continue.

So those who have seen the Expanse season three and know that the initial weapon was something more might realise that in the digital media that click is the something more towards a weapon, all thanks to the shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers. We need a much larger change and until cash is taken out of the equation it cannot continue, yet that too is a dicey position, because the news has every right to cash in on materials they created. We cannot ignore that part of the equation.

 

 

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