This report traces how the technological revolution of the past few decades has created a new corporate world of Internet-based companies that have become the new gatekeepers of information. It offers recommendations for addressing the role of the new information gatekeepers in the age of the Internet.
The technological revolution of the past few decades has opened up a world of information for anyone with a computer, smartphone, tablet, and an Internet connection. And it has created a new corporate world as well: companies that didn’t exist 20 years ago but that have become among the most highly capitalised in the world by creating ways to help people work, play, converse, learn, argue, shop, and do nearly anything else, all online. In the process, whether by helping find information, organise it, prioritise it, or share it, in many ways these Internet companies have become the new gatekeepers of information. Of course, there are many big differences between that editor and, for example, Google, Twitter, or Facebook. But one of the biggest is that these new gatekeepers aren’t just working in a single newsroom in a single city, largely isolated from everyone else. The Internet companies, though the largest of them are based in the United States, are literally working on the World Wide Web, playing on a global scale and hoping to elbow out their competitors to lock up rich international markets.