The Filtered Reality: A Thesis on Filtering Processes Influencing the News Media Landscape on Facebook

Karoline Andersen & Laura Reimar

Student thesis: Master thesis


The digital transformation of News Media has fundamentally changed the conditions for news distribu-tion and the surrounding infrastructure. Facebook has gained tremendous influence as a news distri-bution platform, which has made the platform relevant for News Media as a mean of drawing attention to their content. This transformed environment has defined a new structure for how News Media as well as Facebook are filtering news content. This thesis investigates how these filtering processes are influ-encing the news media landscape on Facebook.
This thesis builds on a tripartite theoretical framework of the Public, News Media and Facebook, in order to analyze the filtering processes firstly related to news distribution on Facebook, and secondly the filtering influence on the news media landscape on Facebook. The research is based on qualitative methodology and include three in-depth interviews with Representatives from established News Media and five in-depth interviews with Digital Media Experts. Furthermore, the research relies on two quanti-tative reports describing media consumption in Denmark in order to supplement the qualitative basis of the study. This research contributes to and combines the existing literature regarding the Public, News Media, and Facebook by examining how the filtering processes related to News distribution on Face-book influence the news media landscape on Facebook.
The analysis of this thesis finds that the identified filtering processes that preconditions News Media distribution on Facebook, combined with Facebook’s algorithmic sorting processes, greatly affects the news media landscape. Throughout the analysis this thesis identifies an Ecosystem of how news are distributed on Facebook; Engagement, guides both which type of news the media distributes on Face-book, and how the news are prioritized in Facebook’s Newsfeed. Thus, this thesis concludes that the filtration processes related to news distribution on Facebook, yields a fragmented news landscape on Facebook. These findings allude that the filtration processes potentially may harm the public as news distribution on Facebook is predominantly based on commercial interests and not to enlighten the pub-lic with relevant and important public matters. The study contributes to an improved understanding of how modern News Media are distributing and highlights some of the adverse implications on the type of news that the public receives.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages195