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Rupert Murdoch says Facebook should pay news publishers for content

Rob Crilly
Rupert Murdoch says Facebook should recognise the value brought to it by professional news organisations - 2014 Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch called on Facebook to pay trusted media organisations a fee for content, marking the latest attack on the social media giant’s handling of news.

Facebook has faced intense criticism for its inability – or unwillingness – to stem the flow of fake news, conspiracy theories and misinformation on its platform.

Last week, it announced plans to boost the position of trusted sources in news feeds.

“If Facebook wants to recognise ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies,” said Mr Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, in a statement. 

“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.”

Mark Zuckerberg has been under intense pressure to tackle fake news Credit: Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive, said on Friday that his company would fight misinformation and sensationalism on its platform by using member surveys to identify "trustworthy" outlets.

It is the second recent change to its timeline algorithm to stem the spread of unverified information among its 2 billion regular users.

"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," said Mr Murdoch.

Fake news: What exactly is it – and how can you spot it?

The quality of news on Facebook has been a frequent question ever since it emerged that alleged Russian operatives and spammers were spreading false reports on the site, including during the 2016 US election campaign.

However, the company has frequently pushed back against the idea that it is a publisher, with responsibility for verifying content.