As media studies students, you’ve no doubt encountered the concept of commodification. It refers to the tendency to regard items, ideas, services etc in terms of their monetary worth, rather than for any other sort of value. In mass communication, the concept is applied to media messages and, as McQuail points out, audiences themselves, both of which can be primarily (if not exclusively) regarded as revenue sources by media owners.
One of the recurring themes in our class is the idea that social media removes the barriers to entry in mass media, affording audiences access to the tools of media production and distribution that were once only available to those with much greater resources. However, this more leveled playing field has not changed the realities of commerce. If anything, it’s intensified the monetisation of media.