The aim of the article is to observe the contemporary media system in the light of Luhmann’s media system, namely a specific function system of society which has witnessed ever greater internal complexity vis-a-vis an environment marked by the spread of the web and social network sites. From the viewpoint of sociocybernetics, the question of increased complexity can be addressed through an ecological approach in order to analyse the distinction between the mass media and the web – in its specific 2.0 evolution, characterized by user-generated content and algorithms. This approach allows to observe the reciprocal relations by preserving the autonomy of the two spheres without resorting to explanations that have to do with hybridization or the blur of the boundaries. In this sense the article analyses Facebook – as an example of web 2.0 operational logic – as a social system distinct from that of the mass media, where the first substantial difference depends on the role played by individuals in reproducing communication and on the role of the algorithm. In this sense mass media and the web are treated on the basis of their relationship of structural coupling by observing how they irritate, or disturb, each other and at the same time maintain their autonomy.
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