Tuesday, March 14, 2023

News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch takes swings at Google, Facebook

During News Corporation’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch continued his attacks on Google and Facebook, accusing the internet titans of attempting to stifle conservative views and pushing for “substantial reform.”

Murdoch, 90, has often chastised Google and Facebook for removing the publisher’s news stories without compensation and for failing to fairly compensate publishers. Despite concessions from both firms, which agreed to pay for News Corp’s content in Australia earlier this year, the public flogging persisted.

“For many years our company has been leading the global debate about Big Digital,” said Murdoch. “What we have seen in the past few weeks about the practices at Facebook and Google surely reinforces the need for significant reform.”

Murdoch accused Facebook staff of attempting to muzzle conservative viewpoints and pointed to “a similar pattern of selectivity” in Google’s search results. Conservative figures like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro, meanwhile, consistently rank among the most popular on the network, according to data from Facebook-owned analytics firm CrowdTangle.

Furthermore, the media mogul referenced a complaint filed by ten state attorneys general last year accusing Google of monopolizing the digital ad industry and reportedly collaborating with Facebook to influence online auctions where advertisers purchase and sell ad space.

Murdoch called for algorithmic transparency — echoing debate in Congress in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s disclosures about the social network’s business practices.

“The idea falsely promoted by the platforms that algorithms are somehow objective and solely scientific is complete nonsense,” Murdoch asserted. “Algorithms are subjective and they can be manipulated by people to kill competition, damage other people, publishers, and businesses.”

Murdoch also called on former U.S. President Trump, who published an Oct. 27 letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal repeating the false claim that the 2021 presidential election was rigged, to move beyond the past in the service of American conservatives.

“The past is the past and the country is now in a contest to define the future,” Murdoch said.