Hackernoon logoEnd of Gatekeepers, or Just New Gatekeepers? by@vernekard

End of Gatekeepers, or Just New Gatekeepers?

Dinesh Vernekar Hacker Noon profile picture

@vernekardDinesh Vernekar

Co-founder

End of Gatekeepers? Original Image copyright: Dilbert.

About a week after the Weinstein scandal broke, Ben Thompson wrote a bold article about the end of gatekeepers. https://stratechery.com/2017/goodbye-gatekeepers/

Weinstein was the classic gatekeeper. He used his position as the head of the Weinstein company and decider of fortunes of countless upcoming actress to sexually harass women.

“Weinstein’s alleged pressuring of the New York Times — and his ability to influence the media generally — rested on the fact that the media is also a gatekeeper

Ben says that’s Weinstein’s contacts in the media meant that a story could be killed. The internet has certainly changed this — mostly for the positive. By giving everyone the ability to publish — it’s broken down the barriers — now every Twitter, Whatsapp & Facebook user is a reporter. Occasionally a story goes viral helping highlight an issue under reported by the traditional media.

However traditional media still has a lot of distribution & $$$. That means an army of ads/paid users can be used to control the trend on social media & thus the overall narrative. The person with the most $$$ had the most clout in the real world, it’s the same on Facebook.

http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/FmndRnomzWZlXye0rFEfSK/How-to-manufacture-a-Twitter-trend.html — a decent article on manufacturing trends for twitter.

Users spamming with hashtags to game the trend algorithm

In the age of #FakeNews the crucial currency is trust. The internet has made it possible to expose or outline the faults in the narrative of traditional media. I hope this makes them more stringent in their editorial standards and accountable to the common public.

A crowd-sourced list of all instances of censorship by the Congress Party.

But how do we make the individual publishers MORE ACCOUNTABLE??

In the offline world, publishers/newspapers took their reputation very seriously. However, who is supposed to make individual publishers accountable? What about nascent publications whose growth is tied to their ability to create controversy?

Twitter’s blue tick program — supposed to authenticate identity(of well-known individuals) instead gave people (mostly reporters) a sense of entitlement & importance.

YOUTUBE & MOVIES

Youtube has opened doors for a lot of creators. A lot more people have a chance at making it big. Bhuvan Bam of BB Ki Vines is one of the big stars — awesome content. Mithila Palkar has made it big in Marathi cinema. But even if few people like PewDiePie only need Youtube to monetize, for the vast majority of creators — Youtube is a gateway to the holy grail — films and greater fame.

The Gatekeepers are still strong in Bollywood

But the insiders still hold the keys to Bollywood. LiveMint did a great article on Nepotism in Bollywood.

http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/FZftXzIO9oQt9KMesWN9eI/Which-Bollywood-producer-scores-highest-on-the-Nepotism-Inde.html

Netflix and other subscription services are taking a lot of the space previously occupied by movies. However the casting and production process of Netflix is as opaque as the Weinstein Company.

However since Netflix is a public company unlike T-series it’s likely to be more accountable. In recent times, we’ve seen Netflix replace the lead actor of a series due to reports of sexual harassment against them. Youtube took down videos which incited violence. Facebook is trying to counter the fake news problem

THE NEW GATEKEEPERS

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Netflix are the new gatekeepers. They’ve replaced the old gatekeepers with algorithms & vague policies.

Twitter explains why it isn’t taking down Trump’s North Korea tweets.

The truth is anyone who controls distribution controls the narrative. Hopefully the new gatekeepers are more transparent about the rules than the old ones.

Links:

  1. Ben Thompson's article on the end of gatekeepers. https://stratechery.com/2017/goodbye-gatekeepers/

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