Toward a theory of network gatekeeping: A framework for exploring information control

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Abstract

Gatekeeping theories have been a popular heuristic for describing information control for years, but none have attained a full theoretical status in the context of networks. This article aims to propose a theory of network gatekeeping comprised of two components: identification and salience. Network gatekeeping identification lays out vocabulary and naming foundations through the identification of gatekeepers, gatekeeping, and gatekeeping mechanisms. Network gatekeeping salience, which is built on the bases of the network identification theory, utilizes this infrastructure to understand relationships among gatekeepers and between gatekeepers and gated, the entity subjected to a gatekeeping process. Network gatekeeping salience1 proposes identifying gated and their salience to gatekeepers by four attributes: (a) their political power in relation to the gatekeeper, (b) their information production ability, (c) their relationship with the gatekeeper, and (d) their alternatives in the context of gatekeeping.

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