Validating scale measurement credibility
News consumers once had direct and powerful relationships with publishers, before the technological changes that made Facebook possible."People identified with the fact that they read the local newspaper," says Jim Moroney, former publisher of The Dallas Morning News."They connected with being readers of The Dallas Morning News, The Boston Globe, The New York Times and so on." Newspapers developed those relationships over long periods of time via the hardcore brick-and-mortar process of building distribution networks."Your major advantage as a media business rested in your distribution system," says David Chavern, director of the News Media Alliance."Everything from your printing press, to the people loading papers into trucks, to the trucks themselves, to the stores, to the kids delivering papers to subscribers' doorsteps." The physicality of the distribution system lent credibility to both news and ads."Facebook's decision to accept "responsibilities" in the news realm, even in this rudimentary and characteristically disingenuous way, has mind-blowing implications for a country that has functioned without a true media regulator for most of its history.That's because all of these horror-movie headlines about fake news and "meddling" gloss over the giant preceding catastrophe implicit in all of these tales.As recently as November 2016, Zuckerberg, who exudes all the warmth of a talking parking meter, could be heard lashing out at people who "insist we call ourselves a news or media company." He later scoffed at the idea his firm played a significant role in the election, and refused to discuss the possibility that Facebook had responsibility for reversing the declining quality of news reporting.But by the beginning of 2018, Facebook began a sharp – and subtly frightening – turnaround.
But TV and radio also once enjoyed enormous advantages that no longer exist."TV and radio, those were scarcity businesses," says Moroney.From senators to members of the media to security officials, the solution to the problem of "fake news" and foreign intervention in our elections has been absurdly simplistic: Just have Facebook fix it. After years of resistance, Facebook's polarizing supergeek CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is suddenly accepting the challenge of reforming an industry he knows nothing about, i.e., the press.Ominously, he recently vowed to spend 2018 working on "these important issues."It's a seismic change.A recent Wired cover story is a typical press treatment.
Legions of current and former employees whispered to the mag about Facebook's toxic culture.
We shouldn't be asking Facebook to fix the problem. It's our collective misfortune that this perhaps silliest-in-history supercorporation – a tossed-off hookup site turned international cat-video vault turned Orwellian surveillance megavillain – has dragged us all to the very cliff edge of modern technological capitalism.