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Rupert Murdoch wants Facebook to pay publishers for their news content

by Claire Atkinson /

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Rupert Murdoch, who controls Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, seems to have had it with Facebook.

On Monday, clearly angered by Facebook's decision to de-prioritize news in its feed, Murdoch said it was time for the social network to pay publishers a fee for running their content.

Currently, publishers must pay Facebook in order to boost the number of people seeing their articles and videos, but Murdoch said the process needs to be reversed.

"The time has come to consider a different route," he wrote in a statement issued by News Corp., of which he is executive chairman. "If Facebook wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies."

Image: Rupert Murdoch
Fox News chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch attends the WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at The Museum of Modern Art on Nov. 1, 2017 in New York.Evan Agostini / AP file

News outlets now get a share of ad revenue from ads that sit alongside their news content on Facebook. Facebook doesn't pay for any news content, though it has paid fees to content firms to make video for its streaming video tab, Watch.

Murdoch said the publishers are enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook, but getting little in return.

"Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists," he wrote.

Facebook has said it is de-emphasizing professional news sites in its news feed, partly because users have been less engaged and have been scrolling through their feeds rather than commenting on posts. The company said on Friday that it would also begin surveying readers to determine which sources are credible and update its algorithm in order to rank a publishers' trustworthiness, drawing Murdoch's ire.

"Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable," he wrote. Both companies promoted false stories that the Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, was a Democrat and was anti-Trump just hours after the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, according to The Guardian.

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