From: Artan Rama
Does Political Livefeed Pose a Threat to Social Platforms?!

Despite being a regular and attentive Facebook user, I do not remember last time Vizion Plus TV was live on Livefeed. During the early hours of Friday, not fully awake yet, while I was sending away pictures to friends on Facebook, the face of a public official came out of the screen of my computer! The image coming from a 24 inch superior Samsung flashed before me: through Livefeed, on Facebook, Minister Mirela Kumbaro had entered the room.

Vizion Plus TV was broadcasting an official activity live on Facebook, a public meeting hosted from the Ministry of Culture, celebrating the 100th birthday of Musine Kokalari. A small square and quite insignificant among the numerous daily videos, I consider this quite a unique media event.

Therefore let’s present the facts.

Vizion Plus is not the only one to use Livefeed. It has been some time now that TV channels interfere in a forceful and obvious way, coming between us, in our circle of friends, with a purpose…

…And maybe for a reason. According to a report published by the “Open Society Foundation,” public trust in traditional media in 2016, compared with 2014, has decreased! So it’s natural that they are looking for new clients.

Is this new broadcasting technology used to increase their fan base? Or is it a strategy for a future market? Or is it an attempt to impose an editorial policy that serves their clientele? And, at the end, how honest and fair is it?

From the looks of it, there seems no reason for concern. Just “unlike,” “unfollow,” “block,” and so on and so forth. But there is no escape! Every day, numerous items aired on TV are being shown online through Facebook. Recorded in high definition, the competitive broadcasting of family videos is becoming ever more forceful.

In Albania this phenomenon has just started, so let’s leave it to time to give us a more complete and accurate answer.

However, there is something that creates confusion right now: this new way of live broadcasting on Facebook is announcing a future battle, within the medium itself.

The conflict becomes apparent while the number of new recruiters hired to work for online platforms is increasing.

Increased broadcasting through Livefeed can boost the public’s interest and its inevitable addiction, confronted with marketing and promotion practices. Commercial advertising will arrive eventually and the web will be attacked by the market that supplies the broadcastings. Before reaching a final conclusion let us analyze the content offered by these programs.

At the time when the Minister of Culture Kumbaro was live, another TV was showing the speech of Lulzim Basha. And another channel had Mayor Veliaj who was greeting the retirement of a sanitary worker. Everything was live on Facebook.

So propaganda and politics are becoming common friends to every user! The only way to avoid this poison is to stop being a user of the platform! But it is undeniable that the inability to leave the web is in direct proportion to our addiction to it.

After having presented this information, let’s pose a question, but also an ethical issue! What is the most important thing for these portals: commercialism or clientism? Offering such political products, speeches of politicians, or electoral meetings, they take a stance that does not generate revenue, directly! While refusing commercial products, through entertainment shows that are easily sold, they avoid valuable revenue for their own independence and wealth.

How do you explain an opposite choice?

Let us propose a counterargument. Do surveys show that public interest is being served? Not at all! If we acted on public interest why weren’t the protests in Balsh aired, or the protests for the Lake Park in Tirana, how about the hunger strike that was going on in Zharrëz, or the historical events in Bucharest a few days ago?

There are a few TV channels that possess exclusive rights to air sport events, so let them show some matches. But they don’t! There is not a single video: but a lot of press conferences of public officials.

The decision has been made: clientism against commercialism.

Conscious of their power, traditional media have chosen to poison social platforms! Virtual conversations and comments are transforming in political debates. A political stance and understanding is important in social communication, and this is a sure fact. However, the electoral conferences and meetings that are served have nothing to do with it.

“I live politically, I act politically, and I am part of this political team that is the Socialist Party”, said Mirela Kumbaro on the traditional screen of Vizion Plus TV, during an overview of the work she concluded on 2016. And under the same brand, through a different screen, that of Livefeed, the Minister of Culture had chosen the same words to open her campaign for 2017!

Social platforms are under threat of becoming political platforms and the new technologies are not helping to avoid the threat that comes from propaganda. On the contrary, they are falling prey to a forceful will imposed by the power of the market, mixed with interests of clients of the same by-gone TV screens, with the fresh ones today!