Rupert Murdoch to Facebook: pay up

Rupert Murdoch has long expressed frustration with how companies like Facebook and Google use news content. Now the e...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 2:57 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 2:58 AM

Rupert Murdoch has long expressed frustration with how companies like Facebook and Google use news content. Now the executive chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox is upping the ante, calling on Facebook to pay publishers a carriage fee the way cable companies pay for channels.

"Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable. Recognition of a problem is one step on the pathway to cure, but the remedial measures that both companies have so far proposed are inadequate, commercially, socially and journalistically," Murdoch said in a lengthy statement on Monday.

Facebook has recently announced significant new changes to how it will treat news publishers on its platform. On Friday, the social network announced it will survey users to rate news organizations and assign them trust scores and then use those scores, along with other factors, to decide how much to show the source in people's news feeds. The scores will not be made public.

That announcement came one week after Facebook said it is tweaking its News Feed to show more posts from users' friends and family and fewer from brands and companies. That tweak will mean news will make up just 4 percent of a user's newsfeed, down from 5 percent, Facebook said.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg is fighting to save Facebook

In his statement, Murdoch said that he has no doubt Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is "sincere person," but he blasted what he called a "lack of transparency" in the new process and said that it should "concern publishers and those wary of political bias at these powerful platforms."

"The time has come to consider a different route. If Facebook wants to recognize 'trusted' publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies," Murdoch said. "The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services. Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook's profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists."

Owners of television channels typically charge cable providers a fee to carry their networks, called a carriage fee. That cost is then passed on to the consumer. Carriage fees are a critical part of how cable networks make money, as they are a more reliable source of revenue than advertising.

Murdoch's comments came on the same day that Facebook acknowledged more forcefully than it has in the past that the platform can have the unintended consequences of spreading misinformation and undermining democracy.

Attempts to get Facebook and other tech companies like Google to pay for news are not new. The News Media Alliance, a trade group which represents the print and digital news industry, is seeking a limited antitrust exemption from Congress in order to win the right to negotiate collectively with online platforms like Facebook and Google, as part of an effort to get their members a better deal when the sites use their content. Critics and observers say that after years of publishers giving the tech companies their content for free, attempts to get them to pay now are unlikely to succeed unless the publishers can form a unified front.

A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather