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real simple syndication

Hoca

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RSS (real simple syndication) is faster and less time consuming than using a search engine, surfing the web, and then creating a huge list of favourites or bookmarks. It’s been around for a long time and many websites support it. Several of the large platforms, like Facebook, do not, because RSS is an open standard and it is difficult to track users with it. If you listen to podcasts on a ‘podcatcher’ then you are likely using RSS.

Big tech have ignored RSS and are not keen on helping people use it, but many news sites still have RSS feeds to which anyone can subscribe. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC ) has a multitude of RSS feeds but does not advertise these or help readers use a feed reader [see image below]. Instead, for the past decade CBC has relied on the platform monopolists at Meta, Alphabet, and X, and these are now biting them in their media butts as a result of Canada’s Bill C18 which big media supported.

Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, has written many posts on Bill C18. Basically it requires large platforms, like Meta and Google, to pay for Canadian news feeds. But Meta has decided that it will no longer allow Canadian news links, including The Beaverton satirical news site.

Many Canadians access news content through digital intermediaries. Bill C-18 would enact the Online News Act (the Act), which proposes a regime to regulate digital platforms that act as intermediaries in Canada’s news media ecosystem in order to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market. The Bill introduces a new bargaining framework intended to support news businesses to secure fair compensation when their news content is made available by dominant digital news intermediaries and generates economic gain. It seeks to support balanced negotiations between the businesses that operate dominant digital news intermediaries and the businesses responsible for the news outlets that produce this news content. —Government of Canada

Canadian news outlets are not happy with this situation and are calling for ‘fairness’, as the lack of eyeballs from Facebook is hurting their business. It goes to show that we should be careful who we get in bed with to distribute our work. Meta and Google can change the rules at any time. Cory Doctorow explained the situation on CBC’s The Current [19 minutes]— the problem is not that these platforms are stealing content or linking to it, but rather that they collude to defraud publishers by owning the entire ad-supported ecosystem because they represent the buyers, the sellers, the marketplace, and they are publishers and advertisers in their own right.

Our national broadcaster should not even be involved with this marketplace. Profit-sharing with Meta only gets the CBC more deeply involved with this corporate giant.

So maybe it’s time we all got back to the basics and curated our own news, instead of having it pushed to us by an algorithm.

List of main RSS on CBC

View the complete list at CBC.ca/rss

Most blogs and many news sites have an RSS feed. An aggregator — AKA feed reader — can help keep track of other blogs so you no longer have to visit each site. New posts will appear in the feed reader. I use Inoreader, but there are many others. Mac users can get a free desktop reader — ViennaRSS

For example, to find if a site has an RSS feed, enter it on Inoreader (add new), or you can use a tool like the Get RSS Extension for Chrome or Firefox. Many people have recently left Twitter and upwards of half of those have shifted to Mastodon, an open source federation of servers sharing the same protocols. I am active there — @harold. One can also subscribe to any Mastodon feed by adding .rss to the address, e.g. mastodon.social/@harold.rss — these open protocols support each other!

One can also subscribe to #hashtags by appending .rss — e.g. https://mastodon.social/tags/pkmastery.rss

Here is a list of Canadian journalism sites that share on Mastodon.

Get started with one of these feed readers — Blogging Wizard
 
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