Throughout history, as new communications technologies have been developed, they have been controlled by “gatekeepers” who had the power to decide who could access those technologies. Although Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the Fifteenth century was revolutionary and ultimately led to major innovations in science and technology, as well as to dramatic societal changes, Gutenberg’s invention was not accessible by everyone. Because printing presses were expensive, only wealthy individuals could afford to own and operate them, and those few individuals had the power to control who could use their technologies to mass communicate. Many of the technologies that followed, including radio, television, satellite, and cable, were correspondingly expensive, or required the owner to obtain one of a limited number of governmental licenses, and therefore were also owned and operated by wealthy individuals or corporations who could control their use. Without access to new technologies, ordinary people were forced to communicate in more primitive ways (such as orally or through handwritten documents), and found it difficult to “mass communicate.”
Weaver, Russell L.
"Social Media, Section 230, and Free Expression,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 73:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol73/iss2/8