Why ‘viral news’ is wrong

In 59 B.C., Julius Caesar created what is thought to be the first daily news media.

The Acta Diurna was a daily digest of public announcements — everything from military notices to recent deaths. This kind of record-keeping wasn’t revolutionary; the game-changer was that he put it in a public place.

Power to Caesar

The Acta Diurna was etched into stone or metal and posted in the Roman Forum for anyone to read. Sometimes, these notices would be copied and sent to provincial governors.

Before the Acta Diurna, content was spread through word of mouth. This meant only people with a large and powerful network could spread ideas at scale. Since Caesar controlled the Roman Forum, the power to spread message still belonged to him — except now his viral power was amplified.

Power to those...

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