Is 2024 the Year When Writers Fight Back?
If they don't, tech platforms will destroy them
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be writers. Let them drive Ubers, make lattes, and such.
Even in good times, writers struggle. The good old days were long before I was born.
Freelance rates haven’t gone up during my lifetime. Magazine pay rates from the 1950s were often higher than today—even without adjusting for inflation
Go back 150 years—and it’s the same thing.
I didn’t think writers could suffer much more. But in the last year, it’s gotten far worse.
Almost every huge tech company decided to go to war against writers in 2023.
At Facebook, the punishment of writers is so severe that journalists now hide links to their articles in the comments—hoping to fool the algorithm. That’s why you’re seeing these kinds of posts.
Google has an even more brutal agenda, eliminating news links to entire countries—especially if journalists expect payment for their work.
Here’s what happened when Canada passed a bill that required payment to newsrooms for the use of their work.
[SIDE NOTE: I’m amazed that writers don’t complain more about automated censorship at this massive level. An entire nation of journalists gets silenced by a trillion dollar tech behemoth—and I hardly hear a whisper of protest. Some even claim that Google should be a role model. Huh?]
And guess what’s happening at Twitter, where the new owner loudly proclaims his support of free expression.
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In 2023, the Twitter algorithm also started punishing tweets that link to news stories, or any writing outside its control. (Elon Musk admits it openly—see image below.)
If my timeline is any indicator, this suppression of journalism has reached pathological levels on Twitter.
You probably think it can’t get worse. But it just did. And not only for writers