The interrelations of Google, Facebook, creators of fake news, and users demonstrate how economic value is being created and harvested from relationships that many online users would not see as primarily economic. These mutual incentives promote particular kinds of relationships between individual web users and online institutions such as Facebook and Google in a way that promotes Post-Fordist interactions. As long as profits are tied directly to how much an article is shared or viewed then very particular kinds of media content will continue to be incentivised over others. Horner, along with many others, has financially benefited from flows of information that are promoted and incentivised by Google AdSense and social media sites such as Facebook. The rise of news aggregator sites is a notable phenomenon in the contemporary media landscape. These examples also demonstrate how the rise of immaterial labour by no means replaces traditional material labour, but that increasingly the spare time of individuals is spend working, in a Post-Fordist sense, to increase the profits of particular institutions and creators. Every time you start a secure session online, your computer gets a digital certificate from that site authenticating that it is indeed Google or Amazon or Facebook, and not some hacker just pretending to be those sites.
The wider changes in the online access to journalism mean that traditional media outlets now compete for revenue on the same terms as fake news sites. Even if a user shares a piece of fake news out of outrage, they have still acted within a system that uses advertising revenue to financially compensate its creator, the social media network, and the company that supported its advertising. Algorithms still carry out the same relatively harmless tasks as they have done since the Internet’s earliest days, including giving online shoppers advantages in making choices (“People who bought this book also bought this…” recommendations), helping match an online dater with a partner more suited to them (Sultan 2016, online), and retrieving search engine results more suited to the user, depending on past searches. Combined with the media-specific characteristics of search engine results and social media feeds that decontextualise individual articles and present a diverse range of content, Google and Facebook encourage a logic that incentives clickbait headlines.
As far as advertising revenue is concerned, Google has no incentive to care whether these stories are being read as satire by Democrats or sincerely by Republicans. Allcott and Gentzkow collected a database of fake news stories from three major repositories and found that their database contained ‘115 pro-Trump fake stories that were shared on Facebook a total of 30 million times, and 41 pro-Clinton fake stories shared a total of 7.6 million times’ (2017, p 212). However, this number does not necessarily mean that all those who were sharing it were Trump supporters. Reviews for Google News UK can also be found on Guardian and Daily Mail. People love to read about so many things online as they can easily access the content via their phone or laptop. Google and Facebook both released statements in mid-November 2016 that they would fight against fake news (Love and Cooke, 2016) by restricting their advertising, with Google claiming the ban would come into effect ‘imminently’ (Wingfield et al., 2016). However, a number of different reports, including The Wall Street Journal and Media Matters, detailed ‘advertisements placed by Google on at least 24 websites that have a track record for pushing fake news stories-stories with fabricated information packaged to appear as a legitimate news story’ (Suen et al., 2016). The Media Matters report was conducted on the 12th December, almost a full month after Google stated it would ban fake news sites from their revenue stream on 14th November.
A policy debate centers around the question how news aggregators such as Google News affect traffic to online news sites. I have at least 10 sites right now. I know ways of getting hooked up under different names and sites. Want to know why I understood with the aim of? What they do not know is that there are actually a lot of high quality used computers that they can get, something that would give them maximum performance. This form of social polarisation by the supply of personalised information can lead to fragmentation of societies, especially in the political arena. Flipboard is a hybrid-curator that uses both algorithms and human curation; users are provided with opportunities for a more explicit form of personalization that requires users to be active participants on the platform. My results suggest that some parties and candidates are able to exert greater influence over how they are represented in search results than others, through a combination of local branch websites and social media presences. Not only did these two companies profit from the surfeit of fake news, but actively promoted it, whether algorithmically or intentionally, through search engine results and social media feeds. Fake news is just one example to consider when investigating how Google creates avenues for profit and how Google’s economics co-depend on other online institutions, in particular, Facebook.