Since 2012, a phenomenon of "delocalization" of local information has been developing. In the United States, some sites presenting themselves as local or hyperlocal news publications, particularly in California, are fed by content actually produced in the Philippines, by editors rewriting press releases or reproducing articles published by local American "pure players".
The same phenomenon, recently highlighted by a recent Freeze Frame SurveyThe "News" section of the site, which is a local French news site, touches on local French news sites. Thus, several "low cost" sites, called "Bordeaux.actu", "Toulouse.actu" or "Lyon.actu", are actually based in Tunisia.
The articles, written at night by "web editors" of a Tunisian subsidiary of the French group Hi-Media (a company specialising in monetisation of advertising space on the Internet), consist of a simple rewriting of the articles of the local news websites (some of which are members of Spiil).
The Spiil protests against this unfair competition, which affects both the "pure players" of local news and the websites of local dailies and weeklies. Local news sites, which live solely off the web, are particularly vulnerable to such practices, which are eminently contrary to journalistic ethics.
"There's a double scandal: the looting of regional and local news sites and the creation of so-called news sites whose sole aim is to serve as a medium for geolocalised advertising and to make money for the Hi-Media network," says Jean-Baptiste Rey, director of development for the Aqui.fr website.
Why not enjoy unlimited reading of UP'? Subscribe from €1.90 per week.
This form of information production runs counter to the mission of the journalistic profession, which is to verify facts and respect readers. By putting these missions in the background to satisfy a marketing approach to local information, it constitutes a worrying drift of which the readers are the first victims. It also represents a violation of copyright and intellectual property rights.