Speaking at an event on social media and its impact on the news industry, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson called for social media platforms to “protect professional journalism” and be subject to an “algorithm review board” made up of “experts.”
Social platforms, said Thomson, have “a responsibility to project professional journalism, and cultivate a culture of compliance so that the real could be separated from the unreal and the surreal.”
“If your business model is to commodify content — which is an egregious mistake because there is a hierarchy of content — and then allow a search engine or a social platform to be easily manipulated by bad actors then you’re failing a basic test of compliance.”
“The pervasiveness of the largest digital platforms makes Standard Oil look like a corner gas station.”
The News Corp CEO attacked big tech for their hands-off approach, saying “sense and nonsense rub shoulders” on social media. “The artificial and the asinine thrive. Clickbait cultivators and search engine spivs reap bountiful harvests” while “professional journalism faces [an] existential crisis.”
Highlighting that social media companies have been compared to tobacco companies, he warned that the rise of A.I. algorithms could create “addicts.”
“The net is nicotine and technological tar” said Thomson.
The CEO also singled out YouTube, which has been subject to sustained attack by News Corp publications, saying it must do “far more” to “purge piracy and extreme extremism,” adding that “fascists” use the web to “groom and radicalize” young people.
Echoing Rupert Murdoch, Thomson called for an official “algorithm review board” presided over by “experts” to track the “intended and the unintended psychological, and social, and commercial, and political impact of pervasive platforms.”
New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, who also spoke at the event, criticized the idea of an algorithm review board, saying “I suspect President Putin and President Xi already have a similar thing planned.”