Posts Tagged ‘paid news’

The Facebook strategy: From Fake News to Paid “News” and to Paid Fake News

April 5, 2019

It is nothing new.

Many newspapers carry advertising which looks like a “news article” or as editorial comment. In the last decade even the once most “reputable” outlets (NYT, The Times, WaPo, Der Spiegel, El Pais, The Guardian……..) have indulged in “Fake News”, both by omission and by commission. Some have become little more than lobbying outfits where the actual news content is always secondary to promoting a particular political line. In India, the idea of paying for “news articles” is an old tradition. It is the life-blood for the print media especially at election time.

(On a personal note, when I was heading an engineering company in India I found it remarkably easy, and quite inexpensive, to place favourable articles in local and national newspapers when we were bidding for important projects. Of course, our competitors did the same. “Journalists” were quite ready to repeat our press releases with no changes, provided of course they were given some special dinner or a free night or two at one of our guest houses.)

The more competent newspapers (I hesitate to say “better”) manage not only to get paid by both sides of opposing arguments, but more importantly, they manage to get paid for presenting themselves as “balanced” and objective.

So now The Telegraph will be publishing a series of paid articles for Facebook, identified as being advertising but still looking like editorial content.

From Fake News to Paid News and now to Fake, Paid News.

Business Insider:

  • Facebook is paying The Daily Telegraph to run a series of positive sponsored stories about it.
  • The British newspaper is running dozens of stories that defend Facebook on controversial subjects like terrorism, hate speech, and cyber-bullying.
  • It shows how Facebook is attempting to sidestep the often-critical media by buying positive coverage of itself.
  • A spokesperson said it is part of a UK marketing campaign to drive “awareness” of Facebook’s investments “that have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

 

Facebook has found a novel solution to the never-ending deluge of negative headlines and news articles criticizing the company: Simply paying a British newspaper to run laudatory stories about it.

Facebook has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a broadsheet British newspaper, to run a series of features about the company, Business Insider has found – including stories that defend it on hot-button issues it has been criticised over like terrorist content, online safety, cyberbullying, fake accounts, and hate speech.

The series – called “Being human in the information age” – has published 26 stories over the last month, to run in print and online, and is produced by Telegraph Spark, the newspaper’s sponsored content unit.

“Fake news, cyberbullying, artificial intelligence – it seems like life in the internet age can be a scary place,” the articles say. “That’s why Telegraph Spark and Facebook have teamed up to show how Facebook and other social media platforms are harnessing the power of the internet to protect your personal data.”

Sponsored native content, in which companies pay for media organizations to produce positive articles that appear similar to traditional news stories, are an increasingly popular method of monetization for many publications, including Business Insider. Some studies have been critical of the ad format, arguing they can mislead news consumers. ….

The stories dismiss ‘technofears’ about the impact of technology on society. …….

Facebook’s go-to talking points are all here. ………

…….. Facebook has paid for sponsored content with British newspapers before – but on far less politically charged issues. In 2016 and 2017, before its current wave of scandals, it ran a number of stories in left-leaning The Guardian on subjects like growing your business with video, understanding customers, and case studies of succesful companies. The Guardian articles are now offline, but remain accessible via the Internet Archive.


 

Paid news and media extortion

May 18, 2014

The media like to portray themselves as a vital and necessary force for democracy. Attacks on the press – in any form – are considered fundamentally a strike against democracy and press freedom. If they break the law and get arrested they claim they were doing it for the greater good. They believe they are entitled to some form of press immunity.

But the reality is that “press freedom” is far too often used as an excuse for justifying criminal behaviour and  bad journalism. Accountability is not of any great concern.

But the media (print and broadcast and on the internet) are not averse to being paid for presenting what is essentially advertising as “news”. And even being paid for not publishing negative stories!!

The Election Commission in India are basking in the soft glow of having successfully conducted the massive, 10 phase voting by 550 million of an electorate of over 800 million over a 6 week period. They have the task of maintaining a “free and fair” election and have not been slow to pull up politicians who are transgressing. They have detected nearly 700 cases of the media transgressing the bounds of propriety.

But they have no authority over the media and the media – in their own judgement – can do no wrong.

DNA: 

As many as 694 cases of paid news – or news for which the media organisations took money to publish or broadcast – were detected by the Election Commission in this election, official said.

By the time the 10 phases of the polls ended to form the 16th parliament on May 12, thousands of cases of paid news were reported, according to EC officials. In 3,053 cases, notice was issued by the EC suspecting a foul play, an official said. 

“We served 3,053 notices, 694 of which were found to be genuine cases of paid news by our Media Certification and Monitoring Committee,” EC Director General Akshay Rout told IANS. “We define paid news as those items which are published as news but are advertisement in nature,” he added.

“There is no accountability in the media. While some candidates willingly pay for positive coverage, in most other cases candidates have to pay to prevent negative coverage. The media is getting increasingly criminalised, and acting as extortionist,” noted columnist and commentator Swapan Das Gupta told IANS. He added that media is acting as a reckless body, violating every known tenet of ethics.

… The Election Commission …. said it was not obliged to act against the TV news channels or print media indulging in such practices. “The media houses or publications are beyond the EC’s purview. We simply forward the cases of paid news to the PCI and the News Broadcasting Standards Association,” Dhirendra Ojha, Director in the EC, told IANS.

Paid news: The cancer in the Indian media

February 5, 2011

The Hindu stands out as one of the few main-stream media prepared to discuss the insidious and increasing trend towards “paid news” in Indian newspapers and on the multiplicity of Indian TV channels fighting for advertising revenue. The TV “news” channels abandoned the rigour of traditional journalism some time ago and are mainly in the business of manufacturing or sensationalising news or of presenting “paid news”. TV anchors are chosen on their ability to rant and programmes are dominated by

  • instant “breaking” news – much of it manufactured – or
  • revelations of scams filmed by “secret” cameras – but usually provoked, or
  • so-called chat shows and panel discussions where  only antagonistic participation is permitted (and the more one can screech over the other the more likely it is to be re-invited to participate – paid of course).

The Hindu writes:

In newspapers and TV channels, choking with stories on corruption, this is the one story you are the least likely to see. The media are their own worst censors when it comes to reporting on ‘Paid News.’

Just before the 2009 Assembly elections in Maharashtra, a large newspaper group in the State brought its editors together for a meeting in Pune. Generally, it was agreed, winning a seat in the State legislature would cost Rs. 3 crore to Rs. 5 crore. ($700,000 to $1.1 million). ….. If there’s that kind of money being spent, said the cash-box boys, we should get a decent share of it. What, after all, is election expenditure but campaign and propaganda expenses? Detailed plans for ‘pay-to-print’ were soon under way in one of the biggest media groups in the State. ……

Paid news comes in many packages: pre-paid, post-paid and yet-to-be-paid, for instance. There are also deluxe tariffs and aam aadmi tariffs, the former in crores (10s of millions), the latter in lakhs (100,000’s). Sadly, these media groups met, even exceeded, their targets.

But it’s not just during elections that paid news or its Euclidian variants occur. The crazy saturation coverage of Davos in some channels was not caused by breathless public interest or media curiosity. It had a lot to do with ‘partnerships’ and corporate subsidies the public can’t see, and won’t be allowed to see. Some channels sent out ‘rules’ to their journalists of things that just had to be done. Rules with no particular journalistic rationale at all. …..

It is a scam worth more millions than anyone can accurately estimate. Most other institutions of Indian democracy and regulatory structures have tried doing something about it. But in the free media, there was a costly silence…..

So the ECI, Parliament, SEBI and top political leaders have all contributed to the fight against the slaughter of honest journalism. Even the spineless PCI did so, before deserting ship. But in the media there is near-total silence. True, there are the exceptions. And the fact that all those journalists went public at those meetings shows how deep their resentment runs. But institutionally, the media’s failure is huge and, if not reversed, will extract a terrible price. The corporate media have censored the Paid News story, browbeaten their own journalists and cheated the public of information it has every right and need to know.

Read the entire article.

Related: India’s Election Commission To Address It’s Paid News Problem

Paid news syndrome is a full blown cancer in Indian Media


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