There is increasing evidence that this skepticism, exacerbated by the president’s relentless attacks, is trickling down to the next generation of voters. A 2017 report on a series of focus groups with 52 people between the ages of 14 and 24, conducted by Data & Society and the Knight Foundation, found that many young Americans believe the news is biased and are skeptical of its accuracy. “There was no assumption that the news would convey the truth or would be worthy of their trust,” the study reported.
Google does feature work by traditional media organizations more than insurgent conservative outlets. Of course, Google’s ability to divine “quality” as distinct from “popularity” is limited. Search-ranking technology relies on the implicit votes of readers, with all the human biases that come bundled with them. Google, for its part, categorically rejected the claim that it tinkered with search results for political reasons. “When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds.
A barista gets burned at work, buys first-aid cream at Target, and later that day sees a Facebook ad for the same product. In another Target, someone shouts down the aisle to a companion to pick up some Red Bull; on the ride home, Instagram serves a sponsored post for the beverage. A home baker wishes aloud for a KitchenAid mixer, and moments after there’s an ad for one on his phone. Two friends are talking about recent trips to Japan, and soon after one gets hawked cheap flights there.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet are not media. They are something new we do not yet fully understand. To call these platforms publishers 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 beschmutzed. The larger question, of course, is what the internet is and how it fits into society and society into it. We are just beginning to see what it can be.
Under a new reorganization plan from the Trump administration, federal agencies would have less than four years to digitize all their paper processes. The White House released its overarching plan to reorganize the federal government, and, as with most of the administration’s management plans, it emphasizes technology’s role in the future of government. The plan calls for digitizing all of the federal government’s recordkeeping by Dec. 31, 2022, at which time the National Archives and Records Administration would stop accepting paper records from agencies.