How to view social news sharing

social news sharing on facebook
Figure 1. "Facebook". Image: Chris Corneschi, CC BY-SA 2.0

In the era of the rapid spread of social media, the way how social news releases has changed, and social media has become an integral part of online social news dissemination and consumption (Kümpel, Karnowski & Keyling, 2015). Social news can spread more quickly in a sharing economy and sharing economy is a trend mainly driven by digitization. The monopoly of news professionals on information flow was broken which government departments and users became more involved in social news sharing. Politically, social news sharing expands users’ rights to share and participate in political topics but also leads to the emergence of fake news. Economically, audiences would like to access news by social media platforms instead of traditional media which reduces the source of revenue for old media. Socially, this innovation is an outgrowth of the sharing economy, changing the way how individuals get news. However, similar to social media, social news sharing can also lead to problems that affect audiences’ lives. Users are likely affected by negative news, and their data can be exploited by news media companies.

the genesis and how it becomes historical trends in communications media

Kümpel, et al., (2015) defined news sharing as the practice of giving particular audiences access to news content through social media platforms such as through posts or recommendations. Contrary to general social media activities, sharing news is not simply release photos or your experiences, but a particular type of content. It is different from news published by traditional news, social news sharing more concentrated on the impact of social media democracy, and cultural diversity (Martin, 2019). According to Martin (2020), sharing is related to economic behavior and it is the third form of economic exchange. In the era of Internet globalization, we are in a sharing economy environment and social news sharing is derived from this background. Historically, the official transformation that indicated the way people attain goods and circulates in the market is the launch of eBay in 1995 (Belyh, 2019). As the development of technology promotes the rapid development of goods and services, the traditional way of communication must be changed, therefore, the way of news sharing has also changed. It is not only because of the rise of the sharing economy affects the way how individuals gain news, but also due to the change of the way how news to be released. The change of the way of news release derives from the shift of traditional communication media to new media. In fact, news sharing has existed in the media for a long time, it was mainly spread through traditional media before social media occurred. The rise of social media in the 20th century and the environment of the sharing economy provide a good space for the development of social news sharing (Hendricks, 2019).

Winners and losers in social news sharing

Since the emergence of new media and a sharing economy, there has been a great change in the way people absorb and exchange information and news. On the one hand, the news departments have the right to control the social news field. Nonetheless, with the emergence of false news, the government departments require to participate in supervision, and the audience also has the right to report false news. Therefore, governments can benefit from this innovation because their oversight powers have been expanded. On the other hand, news release depends on media companies, at the same time, media companies rely on social media platforms, so it is important to ensure that media platforms are able to benefit from it (Martin, 2019). Since there were no social media in the old media age, media companies had the control and autonomy of news, while these days new social media occupy a dominant position, and the rights gradually transferred to these platforms. According to Martin (2018), social media become the major source of online sources and there are more than 2.4 billion Internet users. Besides, almost 64.5% of users accept news from social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

social media sites as pathways to news
Figure 2. Social media sites as pathways to news. Image: By Pew Research Center. All Rights Reserved

It is evident that traditional news media unable to get benefits as social media prevalence this time and news companies and broadcasters are limited due to their autonomy is lessened. Media companies can give up ownership of the content and allow producers and audiences to interact directly (Choudary, 2020). In other words, audiences can participate more in social news sharing. Social media has disrupted the original business and media mode, and the rise of a sharing economy has led to the destruction of traditional ownership patterns (Choudary, 2020). In this way, social media platforms open up new producer markets and democratize production tools. Social media is a two-way communication channel where consumers can participate in dialogue and affect news (Shift Communications, 2020). This is the transformation of social news sharing from linear mode to pipeline mode.

media transform from linear business model to networked business model (from pipeline to platform)
Figure 3. Media transform from linear business model to the networked business model (from pipeline to platform) Image: By Sangeet, Flick. All Rights Reserved

While audiences can benefit most from this innovation as they gain more opportunity to participate in real-time discussions of politics, economy, and culture issues in the society. Audiences used to passively get news from the old media, accept it, and share it with others. However, the new media platforms allow users to actively and creatively participate in the social news discussions such as leave comments below the news online. Rosengard, Tucker-McLaughlin & Brown (2014) indicated that students may hear news through social media but rely on other Internet sources for confirmation. They share and consume news content through a variety of social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, rather than a single source such as news stations and newspapers (Rosengard, Tucker-McLaughlin & Brown, 2014). A good example is online activists use hashtags on social media during protests in Hong Kong to claim their own views.

Figure 3. A Twitter account to support the campaign by using hashtag #freeHongKong, Twitter. All Rights Reserved.

Additionally, there are some international support of the HongKong campaign on Instagram

An Instagram account won international support on HongKong Campaign
Figure 4. Screenshot of Instagram by Katie taken Oct 29th, 2020

Problems and effects of social news sharing

There are some problems with this innovation. Firstly, users may be exposed to negative news sharing which leads to unhappiness, and media companies can easily exploit the vulnerability of people using their information without authorization (Martin, 2019). Secondly, social media platforms are key to spreading misleading news and it has a problem with ‘fake’ news sharing (Ma, Lee & Goh, 2013). Besides, with the increasing demand for the transparency of data transactions, it is important to aware of the problem of information privacy and security of news sharing business. Although its multiple roles in the news sharing eco-system raise concerns about the level of its control over news dissemination and revenue streams, users can build and maintain a wide range of social relationships through news sharing, expanding their ideas, and promoting creativity. Therefore, although users find that their data is being exploited or manipulated, they are reluctant to abandon social media platforms (Martin, 2019). While the news sharing may not necessarily be accurate and truthful information, it is worth sharing. However, this is a serious problem – leading to the collapse of the political consensus (Martin, 2019). An example that Twitter has removed a number of accounts suspected of spreading false information during protests in Hong Kong in a crackdown on China’s disinformation campaign.

Twitter has removed a number of accounts suspected of spreading false information
Figure 5. Screenshot of Twitter by Lee taken August 20th, 2019

For students, they are more inclined to use social media platforms to share the news. This video talks about how students access news by Rutgers today.

Figure 6. Source: RU Speaks: Social Media & News Sharing from 2015, standard YouTube License.

In conclusion, social news sharing has changed the way people access news, with new media companies and Internet users benefiting the most from this innovation. They can express their political views openly on social media platforms as they have the right to freedom of speech. News publishers are increasingly relying on social media platforms to host discussions about news content among journalists and audiences (Martin, 2019). Although the economic and cultural status of news media is not stable in the modern economy, it is still a key role in social news sharing business and an important information participant in social media ecology (Martin, 2019). How to comply with content regulation and privacy regulations, and what commitments they may need to make to achieve normative policy ideals are issues that need to be considered. We need to re-examine the concept of freedom of the press and ensure that citizens have the right to express themselves without government intervention. We should now focus not only on overt political intervention but also on covert commercial intervention.



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About Katie Huang 2 Articles
A sophomore in USYD study about Digital Culture and interested in the relationship between Social Media platforms and the Internet.