Media Ownership and Control. When we think about the media, I would bet that many individuals would immediately think of platforms such as the internet, News channels, Youtube etc etc. (After all, these outlets have become the most popular in today’s society) There are so many media platforms out there and as a society, we rely so heavily on the content that is being offered to us. However, do any of us really consider who owns this media and if we can trust what they are providing to us?
I myself do not spend a lot of time watching the news on television. Thus, I rely rather heavily on news through my Facebook feed. If news doesn’t reach me through Facebook, then I wont hear about it (and yes, this is a ridiculously sheltered way to live for a media and communications student, but bare with me). How can I trust the news I am reading through Facebook? Who is providing this news to me and why, specifically, am I receiving certain topics rather than others?
When we study Adolf Hitler‘s reign of Nazi Germany during the tumultuous years of the second World War, it becomes evident that his manipulation of propaganda through media outlets was beyond extensive. He knew that media was the quickest and most efficient way of communicating with the general populace and his understanding of the media’s influence was one of the reasons why he was so successful in Germany at that time. But how could the people trust what Hitler was telling them? How could they differentiate between what was real news and what was merely propaganda, designed to sway their ideologies towards Hitler’s cause?
So here I ask; who is in control of the media being presented to us through facebook? Is Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder) in control? Or is it a collaboration of individuals, companies and organisations who band together to decide what news is presented to us through this highly valuable and influential social media platform? I find that when news and information is presented to me, it is merely a suggestion of what I may be interested in, based off of what a mutual friend of mine has expressed interest in. (After all, this is how facebook works!) But just because that friend is interested in that news, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am or that I could trust the news that I am reading.
The information that we read and absorb through facebook, (or indeed, the internet) is content that is being presented to us for a reason. So next time you are scrolling through your news feed or clicking on links to take you to every corner of the internet, stop and think; Who is controlling this information and why?