The Power of Platforms by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

The Power of Platforms by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen with Sarah Anne Ganter – Shaping Media and Society – is a book that must be read. I bought this book when I went to Oxford Martin School to hear Rasmus Kleis Nielsen give a talk about it. I was curious and I’m glad I got it. It is a really important topic because news production and distribution are affecting our lives and affects our democracies.

The book covers the distribution of news on online platforms. The main ones being Facebook and Google. They conducted a lot of interviews with representatives from the media and from the platforms themselves. Instead of focusing only on US, they also looked at UK, France, and Germany too. While most of the news are created by people who work for news organisations, the distribution is now heavily influenced by platforms.

The Power of Platforms by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

‘A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.’ This is what Zuckerberg said. I don’t think questioning the morality of this is particularly controversial, the main issue is that he, alongside a few others at Facebook are deciding what that huge company, with billions of users are seeing. We all can remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Google is bigger than Facebook and these two companies, run by a small number of people, decide what algorithms they use in showing us the news. They decide what is important, unless we do our diligence to understand the power dynamic, thus by reading books like this one.
This short book covers (~180 pages unless you plan to read the methodology and notes and so on) what the platforms did, what the publishers did, how the politicians responded. The situation is complex and the authors did an amazing job at explaining the situation clearly. I think this is a must read because of this.

The Power of Platforms by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Oxford University Press
Year it was published: 2022
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Economics – Journalism
Pages: 272

About the author:Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.
His research is focused on the changing role of news and media in our societies. He has written extensively about journalism, digital media, the business of news, political communication, misinformation and related topics in dozens of scholarly articles, edited volumes, and books, including Ground Wars (winner of the American Political Science Association’s Doris Graber Award for the best book on political communication published in the last ten years), The Power of Platforms (with Sarah Anne Ganter), and Avoiding the News (with Benjamin Toff and Ruth Palmer). In addition, he is co-author of the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

Sarah Anne Ganter is an Associate Professor at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. She is also a Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. Previously she worked as Junior Researcher at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna, Austria. She received her PhD in Communication and Journalism (2017) in Vienna.
Website & Social Media Links: –



2 thoughts on “The Power of Platforms by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen”

  • So many people are clueless as to how much they are being manipulated. I’m sure I am (clueless, that is) to a certain extent, but I like to think I’m not totally gullible. If anything, I can be quite cynical. This sounds interesting.
    Kelly recently posted…This or this? #5My Profile

    • This book is focused on platforms and their power to show or not to show articles. I think it paints a very clear picture of the problems the organizations face as they are trying to compete for attention. It is worth reading, if you can get a copy. Unlike the previous book I read, which was looking at how news are made, this is about distribution.
      Platforms have too much power and we are beginning to realise this when it is too late to do significant changes.

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