“Fake news” is nothing new. A century after William Randolph Hearst built what was then the largest international media empire – at times critiqued for its brand of yellow journalism, questionable sources and abuse of political influence – the topic of fake news is again in the spotlight and also part of today’s antitrust discussion. Our December 2017 Antitrust Chronicle addresses these debates.
There was a time when we received our news from broadsides, news pasted on walls in public spaces. Later newspapers surpassed broadsides. The catchphrase “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” came about from street vendors selling newspaper “extras” when there was breaking news. Eventually the radio and television brought serious competition to newspapers as a legitimate source of news.
Today, the Internet and social media are the modern day broadsides, instantly sending out news to the masses, and the shouts of “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” are coming at us from more and more directions and in louder and more diverse voices, some of them hawking fake news stories.
Put simply, the way we get our news is changing. A significant percent of the U.S. population gets its news “free” from Facebook and Google. Some authors argue that in exchange for free access readers hand over control of their data, which has an impact on traditional newsmakers and future innovators using Artificial Intelligence methods that are highly reliant on this Big Data. Are these novel news…