Why media companies insist they're not media companies, why they're wrong, and why it matters

Philip Napoli, Robyn Caplan

Abstract


A common position amongst social media platforms and online content aggregators is their resistance to being characterized as media companies. Rather, companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have regularly insisted that they should be thought of purely as technology companies. This paper critiques the position that these platforms are technology companies rather than media companies, explores the underlying rationales, and considers the political, legal, and policy implications associated with accepting or rejecting this position. As this paper illustrates, this is no mere semantic distinction, given the history of the precise classification of communications technologies and services having profound ramifications for how these technologies and services are considered by policy-makers and the courts.


Keywords


Algorithms, social media, media policy, journalism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i5.7051



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