The Atlantic

Platforms Are Not Publishers

The essential value of the internet is conversation, not content—and journalists need to embrace it.
Source: Kacper Pempel / Reuters

This post was updated on Friday, August 10 at 7:53 p.m. to reflect the author’s role as the founder of a Facebook-funded project.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet are not media. They are something new we do not yet fully understand.

We are often doomed to see the future as the analog of the past. Journalists see screens that contain familiar text and images, and that serve what used to be their ads—and they call that media. Such a mediacentric and egocentric worldview brings too many presumptions and misses too many opportunities.

To call these platforms publishers—as ’s —is to presume that their task is merely to produce content. It is to presume, then, that the internet should be produced, packaged, and polished, and that when someone says something bad anywhere on it then the entire internet is

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