Rupert Murdoch says Facebook should pay news publishers for content

Rupert Murdoch

News Corp Executive Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has released a rare public statement calling for entities such as Facebook and Google, to pay "trusted" news outlets a "carriage fee", in exchange for posting content to their websites.

Murdoch's remarks follow a major change in strategy by Facebook, announced last week, that will see it boost news sources that its users rank as most trustworthy, while shrinking the percentage of news posts overall in users' news feeds.

Murdoch feels that subscription models and Facebook's current tweaks are inadequate to solve the problem on a commercial, social and journalistic level.

The decision has led to concerns within the rest of the media industry that their content will be sidelined in preference of posts from users' friends and family.

Murdoch's worries are not new inside the business, however he is a standout amongst the most prominent media administrators to voice them so anyone can hear.

The issue came to light amid alleged Russian interference during the 2016 USA presidential election campaign and during other key political events globally since.


For their part, many news organizations are locked into their relationship with Facebook, which can drive enormous traffic to their sites, but captures nearly all online advertising revenue for itself.

Many of Murdoch's publications and in particular the Fox News channel that he owns, have been accused of spreading their own brand of fake news.

Murdoch's issued the statement a week after Facebook made two major changes to its news feed algorithm. Meanwhile, trust in journalism was on the rise, up 5 percentage points to 59 percent. "There is nothing worse to a company long-term".

Its civic engagement chief, Samidh Chakrabarti, said in a blog post: "In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognise how bad actors were abusing our platform". "We want to make sure that our products are not just fun, but are good for people", said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview. "At its worst, it allows people to spread misinformation and corrode democracy".

It's a blend of updates that has distributers anxious about their future on Facebook.

Like Murdoch, many publishers are at the tipping point, ready to move on from Facebook in favor of rivals like Twitter and Apple-if they can. The company comprises businesses across a range of media, including: news and information services, book publishing, digital real estate services, and cable network programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. "And with the lack of monetization opportunities, it's gotten to the point where we have to wonder where this partner fits into our future".

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