Facebook and Google should pay the media industry for the content they're using to increase the value of their online platforms, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said as part of a recent statement which criticized the M.O. of the largest digital companies in the world. The 86-year-old is unimpressed by Google and Facebook's attempts to combat the so-called "fake news" by highlighting what they deem are "trusted" publishers, saying they should be required to compensate news outlets for their efforts that are directly helping them. Mr. Murdoch compared his proposal to the carriage fees paid by cable companies, claiming that neither Internet giant would have their bottom line significantly affected by supporting the media in that manner yet doing so would go a long way for the news industry.
The multi-billionaire remains skeptical about the subscription-based business model in the context of the digital media segment, saying that none of the proposals he heard so far understand "the investment in and the social value of professional journalism." He also criticized the general lack of transparency at Facebook and the manner in which the Menlo Park, California-based company is capable of completely changing the media landscape overnight but doesn't effectively explain its reasoning for doing so. Mr. Murdoch's comments were largely aimed at Facebook's recent decision to radically redesign the News Feed and purge it from the majority of content posted by publishers. While the firm described the move as a return to its roots of sorts, claiming the main purpose of its platform was always to bring people together, many industry watchers believe the redesign was prompted by its inability to combat fake news in a targeted manner; coupled with the rising political pressure from Washington, Facebook opted to significantly cut down on the overall amount of news it's disseminating so as to also reduce the number of misleading and false stories, according to some critics.
The media industry played a part in Facebook and Google's rise to power, having helped popularize their services in their beginnings, but their relations are much sourer these days, with both digital giants now eating into their revenues and consistently reducing the volume of advertising dollars that are poured into them. With Facebook now deciding to cut the media outlets from a significant portion of their traffic, their tense relationship is unlikely to improve in the near future.