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People before Platforms

By Joseph Thornley

We talked to one another for 42 minutes to plan the podcast before we started to record. At the end, we've decided to take the pressure off by saying that this is a recording that is not remarkable. Just three friends, three communications professionals talking about issues of importance to us. The responsibility of the big platforms, Facebook and Google. Their begrudging appearance before Congress, an appearance that makes that case that government has levers that, just by their existence, keeps the big players in check. If Congress had not persisted, we never would have gotten the real picture about what was going on with Facebook, Google and Russian interference in the US election. Yep, Facebook and Google are media companies. Publishers that makes judgements through the algorithms they deploy just as surely as humans do. Have they become too dominant, too focused on their own commercial interest, to realize the original dream of people connecting with one another in a meaningful, positive way? And what's the impact of a few dominant players on innovation? When they buy new innovative companies when they haven't yet fully realized their potential. The may not be a remarkable discussion. But that doesn't make it unimportant.

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