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 asserts that Facebook and Google’s websites incorporate algorithms which are “inherently unreliable” for news distribution.
His statement proposes a new licensing deal between media organisations – as his own – and entities like Google and Facebook.
Murdoch’s remarks come just after Facebook announced two major changes to its News Feed configuration, set to demote posts from publishers and brands. Facebook states it will also promote news from “trusted publishers”, according to the results of user surveys. The company has not elaborated on the method of such surveys.
“Facebook and Google have popularised scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable”, adds Murdoch.
“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 affirms that “the time has come to consider a different route”, and if Facebook wants to recognise ‘trusted’ publishers, it should pay a carriage fee, similar to the model adopted by cable companies.
“There has been much discussion about subscription models but I have yet to see a proposal that truly recognises the investment in and the social value of professional journalism”.
The news comes as Facebook and Google respond to concerns that they are perpetuating ‘fake news’.
Murdoch affirms that the websites are impacting both journalism and society at large:
“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”.
Individuals can read Murdoch’s full statement here.