Fox News Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch recently expressed his discontent over the various algorithms that platforms such as Facebook and Google use to publish content.
This came in a week after Facebook announced that it will be tweaking its News Feed to show more posts from users’ friends and family and fewer from brands and companies. Per the new algorithm, news will make up just about 4 percent of a user’s newsfeed, down from 5 percent, the company said. It was this tweak that lead to Murdoch’s resentment.
This, however, is not the first time that such discontentment has been displayed. Attempts to get Facebook to pay for news have been made before by the News Media Alliance. 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.
Here is the full text from Murdoch’s statement:
“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.
There has been much discussion about subscription models but I have yet to see a proposal that truly recognizes the investment in and the social value of professional journalism. We will closely follow the latest shift in Facebook’s strategy, and I have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg is a sincere person, but there is still a serious lack of transparency that 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.
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.”