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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

  • Tech Companies
  • Feenberg
  • Social Media Companies
  • Trending Topics
  • Search Engine Algorithms

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-55026-8_2
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Correspondence to David R. Brake .

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Brake, D.R. (2017). The Invisible Hand of the Unaccountable Algorithm: How Google, Facebook and Other Tech Companies Are Changing Journalism. In: Tong, J., Lo, SH. (eds) Digital Technology and Journalism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55026-8_2

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