Rupert Murdoch said Monday that if companies like Facebook Inc. (FB) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) , (GOOG) really want to fight so-called "fake news," they should pay legitimate journalism organizations licensing fees for "professional" content.
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"Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable," Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp. (NWS) and executive co-chair of 21st Century Fox (FOXA) , said in a statement. "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."
Murdoch wrote that a lack of transparency in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's stated intention to combat fake news "should concern publishers and those wary of political bias at these powerful platforms."
"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," the news executive wrote. "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," he said. "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."
Across the pond, the European Union has considered proposals to make Facebook and Google pay for content in the past.
Facebook did not immediately comment on Murdoch's proposal.
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