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Monday, 28 March 2016

Social media and democracy

This is an interesting study by The Economist and resonates to our research on newsproviders competing in contests. While these authors argue that it is random things that get important topics emerge from the chaos (e.g. the personality of the person posting) much like it is the case for entertainment content in general, we argue that it is the contest nature of competition between suppliers of "hot news" that makes topics emerge in a random fashion. What is clear from both processes is that there is much less consensus on what the "agenda" is, or should be and that may or may not be good for democracy. The debate just gets started.....

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Facebook privacy concerns and anti-competitive behavior

Germany has just accused Facebook of abusing its market dominance by somehow 'forcing' consumers to accept its data usage terms. The FT reports that the German competition watchdog is launching an investigation into the matter. I can definitely see a case for privacy concerns in the context of Facebook (and other websites that use consumer data for selling advertising) but connecting this issue to anti-competitive behavior and market dominance is a stretch. Is the argument that "because of its market dominance, consumers don't have a choice but to share their private data with Facebook"? This is not really the case. Rather the issue is that it is hard for consumers to figure out the correct privacy settings. Unfortunately, the authorities don't seem to be very clear about their reasoning.