The Invisible Hand of the Unaccountable Algorithm: How Google, Facebook and Other Tech Companies Are Changing Journalism



Across the world both journalists and their audiences now depend on social media and search engines to deliver them news and information. Standing between the individual and the ever-growing volumes of digital data are a variety of automated gatekeepers—algorithms—whose great and growing power to influence journalism is only starting to be recognised. This unaccountable software—generally under the control of large intermediaries like Facebook, Apple and Google—is already influencing the ways in which journalists prioritise potential stories, how they research them, and how these stories are published and consumed. This chapter draws on Feenberg’s critical theories of technology (Questioning Technology, Routledge, London, 1999) to explore this phenomenon and describe some possible consequences for the provision and consumption of knowledge to the public sphere.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LSELondonUK

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