MEDIAWATCH: Social media has killed the Fourth Estate and mutated citizens into conspiracy theorists


The news is fading from sight on big social media platforms – where does that leave journalism?

News companies distribute their content on platforms such as Facebook or X because that’s where their audience is – at least a large proportion of it, anyway. But news is poorly promoted by those platforms, and Google and Facebook admit news makes up only a tiny fraction of their overall content.

Furthermore, the visibility of news within these platforms is rapidly declining. The result is described by the authors of The Power of Platforms as “platformed publishing”: a situation where some news organisations have almost no control over the distribution of their journalism because they publish primarily to platforms defined by coding technologies, business models, and cultural conventions over which they have little influence.

As a recent Wired article observed, “Facebook is done with news”: its parent company Meta is “killing off the News tab in France, Germany and the UK”, having already temporarily blocked access to news content in Australia in 2021 and more recently in Canada where the blackout continues.

Instagram’s new Threads app (also owned by Meta) has no appetite for hard news, Google’s search results offer less news, and X has stopped showing news headlines and links on tweets.

Social media has killed the Fourth Estate and mutated citizens into conspiracy theorists!

By suppressing real journalism for mutated conspiracies, the social media networks are undermining our shared sense of reality for addictive clickbait fuelled by hate algorithms.

This Hard Right Government has turned us from New Zealand into Q Zealand because the feral antivaxx movement are deeply entrenched within NZ First and have pushed crazy conspiracies to the forefront of our national policy platform.

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The conspiracy theory against the WHO, the conspiracy that the media were bribed, and the conspiracy that Jacinda knew about the Christchurch terror attack before it happened all lead back to QAnon conspiracy that a shadowy one world child molesting Satanic Cabal is promoting the vaccinations to weaken us using 5G technology.

These people also think crystals can cure cancer.

The rabbit hole conspiracies we are losing so many good people to continues to act as a Black Hole of self-enforcing extremism algorithmically set to conflict.

The woke haven’t helped with their early cancel culture Lynch mobs, but the far right have adopted all those new norms and tactics and used the culture war ammunition we generated to twist the narrative and enthral desperate frightened lonely people.

Hilariously the Public Interest Journalism Fund was set up to try and provide that and it’s now been spun into a conspiracy that was a ‘bribe’ to carry Jacinda’s ‘vaccination propaganda’.

We need a complete rethink about what public broadcasting journalism is and should be and how we use it to keep a clear distinction between actual journalism and inflammatory click bait.

Social media is still so new, I feel like it could turn out to have as many negative health effects as tobacco.


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  1. It’s a bit of a chicken & egg story isn’t it. Trust in journalists was on the decline long before the advent of social media.

    For those who have forgotten history, it was back in 2004, the same year that Facebook was invented, that Dan Rather presented a memorandum as evidence in 60 Minutes of George Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard in order to discredit him. It didn’t take long for the computer savvy to find out that it was a recently written forgery designed to tilt the result of a US election. Journalism at its finest!

    Recent surveys show that trust in journalists is akin to that of real estate agents and second-hand car salesmen. This is the opinion of society and to dismiss the views of the general public as being conspiracy theories is the denial of reality.

    • U think our host understands all of this but pushes his opinions to make us all think.

      How many of those who read his opinions do any critical thinking for themselves?

  2. On one hand you have an MSM that publishes status quo, establishment, deep state narratives. The MSM will publish Wikileaks content but then no editorials condemning the cancellation and incarceration of Julian Assange.

    On the other hand you have New Citizen Media which wants Data to be free and open for analysis and uses the new ability to publish independent, pundit, commentator, influencer and dissident, views.

    Everyone is a publisher now not just Rupert Murdoch.

    But Big Brother can still massage the message by controlling platforms, censors and courts.

  3. If the Fourth Estate is mutated it’s probably because social media has been manipulated by the Fourth Estate.
    The snake devouring itself beginning with its own tail kind of thing. Since the early 1900’s our economy’s been sequestered by those who went on to become the national party in 1935-ish. Our economy and our societies, what ever the fuck that is, is staggering under the weight of institutionalised lies and misrepresentations while being syphoned of its money which, in our case, is farmer money earned by food exports once having completed a refrigerated journey to the northern consumer.
    There you go, see? I’ve just explained our economy and the reasons behind why we’re fucked in 96 words more or less..
    You yourself @ MB, our politicians, media persons, the law and sundry other general-public types have been writing and jabbering for generations and yet you still fail to see the elephant for its close proximity. Meanwhile, the elephant is feasting on ill gotten gains up the front while shitting out multi-billionaires, multi-millionaires and four foreign owned banksters stealing record net profits on top of us working people standing under the shit storm out the back. Until you say ” Hang on a minute! How come I just bought a pair of socks for $50 yet the farmer only gets .70 c a KG for it which took one year to get to the stage of being able to be used as elephant feed” Our farmers are abysmally poorly informed, they’re out in the figurative and literal cold and have absolutely no idea what’s really going on. That’s why many farmers vote national. It’s because farmers have no real idea what the fuck’s going on.
    This is what’s going to happen. Our farmers will be deliberately ruined. I can see it happening now. Our farmers were lured into debt to improve production largely by diversification thus greater profits. But here’s the kicker. Farmers are NEVER, EVER allowed to become financially secure thus impervious to manipulation. That’s where we are at this point. Over leveraged and unable to service debt so our farmers are fucked, and so will you be and all without the kissing.
    Solution: Farmers need Maori who need farmers. If farmers don’t bring Maori over to start a dialogue with the Crown who, like it or not, are our sovereign nation we’ll lose our AO/NZ to the U$A *mafia. The same families who’re making trillions in Ukraine and Palestine.
    * Mafia. That was a metaphor. I don’t mean Al Pacino and a machine gun. Or do I? What with our all bought and paid for MSM one can never know.

  4. During the 90s, while at varsity, I got a lecture from the then head of NZ school of journalism. This was pre-social media. Among the points made were two things that stuck and have proved to be absolutely correct. The first was that after Reagan had removed the US editorial standards from their statutes, the UK and others followed suit, including NZ. The second was the almost universal adoption of the Canadian Standard, an advertising based format for the presentation of MSM News. These two trends allowed firstly the rise of talkback and shock jock media with no pretense of factualism, and secondly the transformation of News to infotainment, where advertising revenue decides what stories lead and all attempts at investigative journalism is suppressed. With media discernment not taught at schools, there’s been two generations of western educated children who’ve grown up without being taught critical thinking and source checking. The current reliance on clickbait on social media is not at all surprising. However, this educational oversight has been somewhat corrected since about 2015, both here and overseas, with media studies being taught. Now you know why the Gnats, Greedies and tin hatters want to “reform” education.

  5. Woke university media academics have killed and mutilated the fourth estate.
    Their progeny have gone forth and multiplied and inhabit every corner of the media.
    We need more independent non state funded media not less.

    • jack – I still remember journalists being blue collar workers…mostly, working class…not today’s journalists…

  6. Hopefully the politically appointed boards of RNZ, TVNZ, NZOA will be fired and replaced with boards that can cope with drastically reduced funding and a new policy direction
    Cutting government advertising and sending it to politically neutral olour blind media outlets should be the next stage
    The media have declared war on the democratically elected government, there are consequences. Just ask Paul Hunt

  7. Greed is good.

    X/formally twitter is just porn advertising.
    Facebook feeds you fear.
    Q grabs those who think they are smart and can’t fall into a cult. Guess what shit heads, you’re in a cult.

    Social media is just more corporate shitfuckery.

  8. Need to unplug it from the internet. Get journos out of the office to chase down real stories instead of making them up at a desk.
    You know, go and talk to people! Not just ‘heads’ of shit.

    That might help. Engage with real people from the public arena.

  9. What kind of sick fuck actively seeks out and watches Gaza massacre porn?

    The Penguin of Kiwibog…ewww!!!

  10. If you go onto the Microsoft start social platform, the site is rife of extremist right wing conspiracy theorists. Im right and Bob the fister would be a perfect fit. Hell even my brother is a big fan of and believe everything Peter Williams says over on the platform. I told him to have another cigarette..

  11. Agree, just by the headline, Martyn. Scared as hell — all the non-thinkers being recruited by the powerful. The only tolerant people I encounter beyond the intelligent and educated are mostly people who weren’t tolerated.

    Add to that people who don’t know how democratic society works — checks,balances, institutions (my 4 idiot sibs, mostly via literal bible belief).

  12. Media killed itself – it could not compete on a mass model online, but instead of lifting quality (going Sharon Crosby) it went low-rent stupid (Hosking & Bridges). Idiot panels are a presentation solution to a lack of quality content.

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