In 1988, Noam Chomsky (then at MIT) and the late Edward S. Herman (then at the University of Pennsylvania) investigated how mass media sways audiences to conform to social norms without coercion, or what they called “manufacturing consent.” In her new book, The Influencer Industry: The Quest for Authenticity on Social Media, Emily Hund, a research affiliate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, investigates how social media influencers have manufactured a new media economy to which we’ve unwittingly consented.

In this episode of the Capitalisn’t podcast, Hund joins hosts Bethany McLean and Luigi Zingales to unpack this new digital landscape where influence has become a powerful currency, shaping not only news consumption and consumer behavior but the very fabric of modern capitalism. Together, they discuss whether influencers are empowered entrepreneurs rewriting market rules or victims of a system that commodifies identity. What are the hidden incentives driving influencer messaging and, thus, the news and content we receive?


More from Chicago Booth Review

More from Chicago Booth

Your Privacy
We want to demonstrate our commitment to your privacy. Please review Chicago Booth's privacy notice, which provides information explaining how and why we collect particular information when you visit our website.