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As a newspaper editor I used to take responsibility for decisions about what content we did and didn’t publish, and I didn’t just do it based on what generated the most adverts – the social media companies need to be forced to start doing the same.
It’s unsurprising that the social media networks are among the last to abandon Donald Trump, rather than the first. But this is not just a case of “better late than never”. Trump was not just a bad apple – he was a beneficiary of a business model which has a dysfunctional relationship with the truth, and which will continue to cause problems whatever happens with Trump himself.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms rely on advertising. They have that in common with the traditional print newspapers and magazines whose advertising revenues they’ve taken. However, in traditional media, Chinese walls kept the commercial imperative to generate advertising revenue and editorial decisions about what content to provide the readers separate.