Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of the media conglomerate News Corp, allegedly threatened Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year over accusations that he was ruining traditional journalism.
The tense encounter occurred during an annual conference hosted by billionaire Herb Allen, in which bigwigs in several industries gathered to rub elbows and talk business, according to a lengthy report by Wired.
Murdoch, along with News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, approached Zuckerberg to tell him in a “stark” manner that “if Facebook didn’t start offering a better deal to the publishing industry … Zuckerberg could could expect News Corp executives to become much more public in their denunciations and much more open in their lobbying.”
Zuckerberg allegedly worried after the confrontation that Murdoch and his ilk would adamantly push for government antitrust enforcement and try to remove its classification as a neutral platform, sheltered from most official liability. After all, Murdoch would have his media arsenal at his disposal to help push that message.
Zuckerberg took Murdoch’s message to heart, according to Wired, returning to his company with a notice to some employees that it would have to address the concerns of the news industry, while not necessarily conceding that it’s a news business.
Zuckerberg and Murdoch have a history of overlapping since NewsCorp purchased MySpace in 2005, the primary competitor to Facebook at the time.
Murdoch is still calling out Facebook to this day, saying in January that he believes Zuckerberg is “sincere person,” but is worried about potential “political bias” and “a serious lack of transparency.”
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