Rupert Murdoch: Facebook has become 'inherently unreliable' and should pay publishers for posting on the site

Al Bello/Getty ImagesRupert Murdoch.
  • In a surprise statement, News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch called on Facebook to start paying publishers for content posted to the site.
  • Murdoch says Facebook and Google’s algorithms have become “inherently unreliable” for distributing news.
  • His statement comes after Facebook made two big changes to its News Feed algorithm that will demote posts from brands and publishers.
  • Facebook also said it would promote news from “trusted publishers” based on user surveys.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp’s executive chairman, said in a statement Monday that Facebook should start paying publishers for content displayed on the site.

“The time has come to consider a different route,” Murdoch’s statement says. “If Facebook wants to recognise ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies.”

The statement comes over a week after Facebook announced a major change to the News Feed algorithm that will no longer favour as many posts from brands and publishers. Instead, Facebook will promote posts that are likely to encourage comments and discussion from people you’re close to.

Facebook said Friday night it would also favour news stories from “trusted” sources picked through surveys of Facebook users. However, it did not say which publishers were considered “trusted” sources and did not elaborate on its survey methods.

Murdoch’s statement criticises Facebook and Google for creating algorithms that are “inherently unreliable” for distributing news.

Business Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment.

Here’s Murdoch’s full statement:

Facebook and Google have popularised scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable. Recognition of a problem is one step on the pathway to cure, but the remedial measures that both companies have so far proposed are inadequate, commercially, socially and journalistically.

There has been much discussion about subscription models but I have yet to see a proposal that truly recognises the investment in and the social value of professional journalism. We will closely follow the latest shift in Facebook’s strategy, and I have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg is a sincere person, but there is still a serious lack of transparency that should concern publishers and those wary of political bias at these powerful platforms.

The time has come to consider a different route. If Facebook wants to recognise ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those 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. Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.