Learning from NBC Blue and the future of Tik Tok

| Tags: Business, Creativity

In 1942 the American government acted to regulate broadcasting as part of antitrust regulation. NBC had two national radio networks. NBC Blue was the one it was forced to divest, it later became ABC, the American broadcaster still operating today.

The network of radio broadcasters and rebroadcasters that covered the nation was a platform for new media. The power of radio was equal to the power we now see in social media. It was new, it was relatively unregulated, impacted the democracy and shifted the balance of cultural power. In the days of radio the rural majority tuned in to the city (Live from New York City), today social media allows us to tune in to anybody anywhere.

In the context of Tik Tok and the future of social media that history of media regulation in democracies is illuminating. Whenever cultural power shifts, democracy and business has to adapt.

The US government is contemplating banning Tik Tok. This thinking acknowledges that Tik Tok is a media company. In this context so is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These platforms have been defined as utilities not media so even the talk of banning Tik Tok opens a new era in which we look at platforms from a different social and political perspective. If Facebook, for example, is a media company there are many regulations in place that holds them accountable for content.