The Post-Intermediation of Truth. Newsmaking from Media Companies to Platforms
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“Post-truth”, the 2016 word of the year, has been defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. In fact, the notion risks becoming little more than a buzzword, given that the epistemic, social, political, and cultural issues at stake behind the current debate on Post-Truth are so numerous, so differentiated and intertwined. Scholars are thus required to undertake interpretative efforts in several research directions, in order to understand both its scope and actual novelty. The paper interrogates one of the main topics debated under the label of post-truth: the circulation of fake news, that is news stating false facts or events within a “veridictive” – and not satirical or parodistic – register. By addressing the traditional and long-lasting debate on the supposed disintermediation of traditional media agencies in the internet era, the analysis here developed tries to identify and explain the emergence of new dynamics of intermediation, detectable at the institutional, technological and social levels. The paper focuses on the new and as yet undetermined role played by the institutional subjects of intermediation, such as platforms owners and service providers; at the same time, it addresses the ways in which the space of news circulation is currently shaped by the automatisms of algorithms. In our conclusive remarks we clarify how these two perspectives should be integrated with a specific focus on the understudied forms of social consumption of fake news on the internet and through social media.
keywordsNewsmaking; intermediation; media platform; sns algorithms; fake news.
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