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.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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