What was previously considered to be a right-wing conspiracy theory has now become the battle cry of one of the web's most beloved progressive media outlets, which says that entities like Facebook and Google are siphoning most of the growth in digital advertising while leaving publishers with nothing.
Nancy Dubuc, the head of Vice Media, joins News Corp (Fox News) in levying serious allegations against tech giants for all but killing digital media, at least on the left-wing side of things. As you may recall, BuzzFeed, Vox, and Huffington Post have all had to lay off staff as well, as has Conde Nast and Meredith.
While these typically far-left outlets have also been losing readership due to their extreme and often unpopular views, Dubuc is blaming not only Big Tech but also the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) for her company's growing losses.
"We grew our digital business faster than anyone at a time when we believed that as more pies were baked, we'd keep getting a slice," she recently wrote in a memo.
"But we aren't seeing the return from the platforms benefiting and making money from our hard work. Now, after many years of this, the squeeze is becoming a chokehold. Platforms are not just taking a larger slice of the pie, but almost the whole pie ... 36,000+ lost jobs in journalism is enough to take your breath away."
These are interesting words to come from the head of Vice, especially since Attorney General William Barr is currently in the process of filing an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google and Facebook.
Will Vice and the others lay down their partisanship and join Barr, who works under President Trump, to break up the tech monopolies? Or will they continue to "resist" to the point that they all go down with the sinking ship that Big Tech created for them?
This is a unique opportunity for those traditionally opposed to conservativism to join hands in going after Big Tech, which truth be told is a serious threat to all of us. Monopolies are never a good thing, especially when they control the free flow of information and the profits that come from advertising and digital traffic.
It was just a few months back when we warned our readers about the threat of Big Tech and called on AG Barr to take action. And now that he finally is, or at least appears to be, Vice, Buzzfeed, and many others have the opportunity to join in as allies to break apart the tech monopoly.
According to estimates compiled by eMarketer, Google and Facebook alone consume about 60 percent of all digital advertising spending. And the unfortunate reality is that they share very little of their earnings with the news outlets whose stories are being shared across their respective platforms.
This is a problem for all digital media outlets, regardless of political persuasion. No single or even dual entity should have this much power and control over advertiser spending to the point that news outlets with what many consider to be quality content are barely surviving and on the verge of collapse.
"While losing even one job feels like too many, these decisions ultimately rest with me and I assure you that we went to great lengths to preserve jobs," Dubuc assured her employees.
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