Rupert Murdoch: ‘Serious Lack Of Transparency,’ Potential ‘Political Bias’ At Facebook

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, said Monday that while he believes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is “a sincere person,” many are still worried about “a serious lack of transparency” and “political bias at these powerful platforms.”

Murdoch said those two areas of concern should make publishers wary of their respective and collective relationships with Facebook, as well as the company’s business structure.

In a similar vein, he also said that the tech giant should start paying its fair share when it comes to news publishing, arguing that content producers are being exploited.

“There has been much discussion about subscription models but I have yet to see a proposal that truly recognizes the investment in and the social value of professional journalism,” Murdoch wrote in a press release. “The time has come to consider a different route. If Facebook wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers, then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies.”

The media mogul’s statement is likely in response to Facebook’s recent announcement that it was fundamentally changing its News Feed algorithm so it shows users more content from friends and family and less from publishers and brands.

Murdoch — who also argued that Facebook’s profits would only take a minor hit while having a major impact on journalism — seems to be echoing similar sentiments from other important media figures.

Magazine mogul Tina Brown said late last year that she is so irritated and disappointed with how Facebook and Google reportedly hog advertising revenue that she’s suggesting the two companies establish a super-fund for traditional media. (RELATED: Google And Facebook Keep Strengthening Their Stranglehold On Digital Ad Market)

“I am very angry and upset about the way advertising revenue has been essentially pirated by the Facebook-Google world, without nearly enough giveback — no giveback, really — to the people who create those brilliant pieces that are posted all over their platforms,” Brown, who worked at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said in an interview with Recode. “It’s high time they gave back to journalism.”

Facebook and Google may not be the only sources of concern, as a influential Wall Street executive predicted in October that Amazon will deeply cut into their ad dominance as time goes on and Amazon keeps growing.

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