Want more of the real news and less of the fake kind, Facebook?
Pay for it.
That’s Rupert Murdoch’s proposal — as outlined in a Monday statement — following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement on January 19 that the social network will favor news stories published by “trusted” sources, as determined in user surveys.
“This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community,” Zuckerberg wrote Friday on his Facebook page.
Since the 2016 presidential election, Facebook and Google have come under fire for supposedly giving a platform to “fake news” sources that critics say may have helped sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor. Facebook has been grappling with how to prioritize legitimate news sources without, at the very least, conveying the appearance of selection bias.
Murdoch’s unexpected Monday statement said, “Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable.”
The media mogul and executive chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, said he has “no doubt” that Zuckerberg “is a sincere person,” but criticized Facebook and Google for a “serious lack of transparency that should concern publishers and those wary of political bias.”
Alluding to the importance of financially supporting traditional journalism, a notoriously financially unstable field, Murdoch said Facebook should pay “trusted” 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,” Murdoch wrote.
Why Facebook would pay publishers for their content is unclear, as the social network already provides news sites with a potentially massive audience, and the advertising revenue that their click-thrus provide.