DID SOCIAL MEDIA KILL THE NEWS OF THE WORLD?

Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in London is the world’s largest English circulation newspaper (2.3 million.)  After publishing for 168 years, it will cease doing so this Sunday after being wracked by charges of phone-tampering and police-bribing involving royalty, politicians and even a teen-aged murdered girl whose hacked messages may havee given her parents the false hope that their daughter was still alive?

But how in the world was this powerful paper and its powerful owner brought down within a couple of days?

Consider this.  It was only Monday night when a freelance British magazine editor got on the net and began to urge big advertisers on the News Of the World to “reconsider” their financial support of Murdoch’s flagship paper.  Ford Motor Company was the first to do so.  Others, spurred by thousands of  tweets and a rash of websites calling for action, announced a review of their advertising practices.  By Thursday afternoon the reviews were moot.  The Murdoch’s – father and son – announced the paper would close for good this Sunday.

Did social media bring the paper down?  An Egyptian film-maker put it this way:  “Businesses now really need to understand something that governments

dictators  didn’t undersand.  Some day you’ll be busted, anything you do will be known.  Social media’s gonna get you, and if you’re lying, we’re gonna get you”

In that context, could the Catholic Church ever have survived the blanket of lies it told to cover up its thousands of priests raping little boys and hundreds of bishops lying to cover it up?  Could the Catholic church still be brought down?

The social media played a big part in bringing down the Egyptian government.  Are big powerful institutions now vulnerable to twitter>

Did the social media bring down the News of the World?

What do you think?

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10 Comments »

  1. Did the Tsunami bring down Daiichi or was it the conceptors’ stupidity and negligence?

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Paul,

    What in the world is a conceptor?

  3. 3

    Neil, “conceptor” is a new buzzword. It means someone who causes ideas to emerge. Sort-of a think tank supervisor.

  4. 4

    When what we now call, “social media” (in reality, simply vastly improved communications tools) first became available, I started warning people to watch their own backs (and their mouths), that whatever they did or said could come back and bite them on their own butts. Camera phones, ipods, hands-free phone devices, uplinks to the internet through something you can hide in your mouth — these are all “spy tools” from the thrillers of the fifties and sixties. Back then, they were simple comic book devices (Dick Tracy’s wrist radio, anyone?), science fiction (Star Trek’s communicators) and fanciful Bondish toys.

    Well, Q stepped out of Ian Fleming’s novels and went to work for Apple and IBM and every other high-tech firm in the world. And guess what? We’re now living in our own spy thrillers! And we’re both the spies and the spied upon.

    Gene Roddenberry said it: if one man can think of it, another can make it happen.

    So the question is, did social media bring down a giant corporation? I think it was a contributing factor, fer sure. Whether it was the only factor remains to be seen.

    Could it happen to the Catholic Church? Well, that would certainly explain why there were past warnings about “over-using” the internet (smacked a little of the warnings we used to get about rock and roll music), and why suddenly there’s a flurry of press releases about the pope’s “new Twitter account” — as if anyone really believes he’s the one with the account, or the one using it…

    That odor in the air? It’s fear.

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Lady Janus,

    Very provocative comment.

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Maybe Murdoch got some bad medical news about himself and wants to get rid of the sleezy part of his life. But there’s something else in the wind which hasn’t surface yet. He could have sold his paper for mucho lettuce. The new start-ups could have fired the scandal mongers, and then announced that there was a new broom in town. Maybe he should have offered the paper to Larry Flynt.

  7. 7
    littlepatti Says:

    “News” of the world. It should be called “muck”. Lots of people made lots of money in the name of entertainment. The ultimate, was When Lady Diana was hounded to death. The Papparazzi should be shut down and deemed illegal.
    I am not for government interference in things, but social media needs some regulation-obviously we can’t count on anyone curbing their appetites for gossip and lies.
    I am surprised with how many “conspiracy theorists” there are among young people these days-fuelled by tabloid lies no doubt.
    Having said that: Murdoch will reopen that paper under a different name and management.

  8. 8
    Neil McKenty Says:

    I agree with you that Murdoch will re-open the paper under new title: how about the Sun on Sunday?

  9. 9

    “…social media needs some regulation-obviously we can’t count on anyone curbing their appetites for gossip and lies.”

    Ooohhh…you’re gonna run right up against the freedom of speech laws, there, Patti. Which we already have, by the way, and there’s no need to make nay more. If someone lies and slanders another person using social media, the remedy is already in place for that. Censorship is not the answer.

    Sadly, you’re right about the appetite for gossip. I think the answer to that is to refuse to entertain it when you see it. I do. It’s just plain nasty, and I won’t tolerate it in my house.

    And I had not thought about new name and management…I can actually imagine that’s happening!

  10. 10
    Trev Says:

    Hey I love your unique take on the social media aspect of the end of the News of the World


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