Zuckerberg Rejects Calls To Pay News Media For Their Content

Eric Lieberman | Tech and Law Reporter

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly pushed back Tuesday against claims the company should pay news outlets for their content.

Immense media moguls like CNN boss Jeff Zucker and News Corp (Fox) head Rupert Murdoch have expressed their deep-seated skepticism over Facebook and Google’s relationship with publishers and news agencies. The tech giants should be part of any conversations of federal regulations, Zucker asserted. While Murdock believes Zuckerberg is a “sincere person,” he’s still worried about “a serious lack of transparency” and “political bias.” Both have argued in some way that Facebook and Google should start paying their fair share since they both have such a large stake in the digital ad market — combined they account for roughly 90 percent of the growth in new advertising revenue and earn more than half of all global ad dollars.

Due to such apparent dominance, the two aforementioned tech companies should establish a super-fund for traditional media, Tina Brown, an influential news figure formerly of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said.

“I’m not sure that makes sense,” the 33-year-old tech executive said, according to Recode, specifically in regards to the prospect of paying a yearly fee for news media content. “People come to Facebook primarily not to consume news but to communicate with people.”

Presumably, most people use Facebook to engage with other people. But those same people can also visit the social media platform to consume news, and they often do. More than 40 percent of American adults access and read news stories on Facebook, according to a 2016 study published by the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation. Six in 10 Americans in general get news from social media, the report shows.

Nevertheless, Zuckerberg contends his company has a responsibility to ensure through different means that the news industry doesn’t suffer too much from Facebook and Google allegedly hogging digital media revenue.

“The way we can help out the most with that is by helping out with a business model that is profitable and sustainable for news organizations,” Zuckerberg continued, according to Recode. (RELATED: Google Is Changing Its Relationship With The News Industry As European Rules Approach)

But a business model proposed by BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti in which Facebook pays a carriage fee for content is not one of them.

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