The CEO of News Corp, Robert Thomson, has attacked sites such as Facebook and Google for not paying publishers for their content.
Bloomberg reports that News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, a long time critic of social media and top adviser to billionaire Rupert Murdoch, has referred to companies such as Facebook and Google as “bot-infested badlands,” “dysfunctional and sometimes dystopian,” and platforms for “the fake, the faux and the fallacious.” Now the 56-year-old CEO is attacking these companies for failing to pay publishers for their content. Thomson is now pushing for a system that Rupert Murdoch previously suggested, where social media companies would pay publishers a licensing fee, similar to what cable tv providers pay media companies.
Media moguls are becoming wary of sites such as Facebook and Google — BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti said during a Recode conference last month that Facebook should be sharing more revenue generated by its News Feed with publishers, as many publishers contribute massively to the content that appears on Facebook. New York Times CEO Mark Thompson recently stated his belief that a demand for quality news has created “the possibility of direct payment from distributors,” which would include sites like Facebook and Google.
Thomson oversees publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, and the New York Post, in a recent interview Thomson stated, “Too many publishers have been patsies. What you are seeing, at last, is more publishers are prepared to be more vocal and that eerie collective silence has been broken.” Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, was not particularly forthcoming about whether or not Facebook planned to pay publishers in the future simply stating “I would never say never to anything.”
Many publishers are already suffering following changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, which saw a greater emphasis placed on posts from friends and family. Vox Media, which owns websites The Verge and SB Nation, was forced to fire 50 employees with some saying that it was the result of their content being ranked lower on social media platforms. Thomson wants Facebook to start paying for quality journalism saying, “They would have rights to publish, to share. We’d work with them so the experience is the best it can possibly be for Facebook users.”