The recent debate over the decision by Facebook to remove a famous, iconic, war photograph from its platform, for reasons of "community standards" related to children - see The Guardian article here for example - has brought to the surface the tricky issues of social media as news sources and the role of editors relative to social media processes. A huge number of people now get their news through a social media platform. Unlike the used-to-be normal journalistic practices there is no editor, and no editorial policy. Journalists and news organisations argue that is not good at all. It leads to biases, personal decision-making by owners and a large number of inaccuracies and falsehoods. Social media advocates argue that the news world has changed. Now people use platforms to share their news stories and their voices and opinions. That the choosing and communicating by professional journalists of stories that they selected has been superceded by much broader engagement in news generation, news selection and news review and comment by all through social media platforms.
The Facebook picture deletion debate throws these issues into sharp relief. Where do you stand? In particular when it comes to media development, media and Development or media for Development (take your pick of phrases) what policies, strategies and programmes should we be pursuing? Is there, for example, an argument for a greater role for editors on social media platforms to ensure that accurate information is shared - think of all the damage done by unfounded social media rumours? That the established journalistic checks and balances are vital for any news media process. Or should we pursue policies and programmes that provide unfettered voice for people and organisations to create and communicate their news, no matter its accuracy or justification? That the role of an editor is antithetical to the very nature and value of social media?
Thanks for engaging