Rupert Murdoch pressured Facebook for changes to help news publishers: report

Rupert Murdoch pressured Facebook for changes to help news publishers: report
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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch pressured Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach Social media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report MORE in 2016 to alter the social media platform's handling of news stories to help the struggling media industry, according to Wired.

Murdoch was concerned that companies like Facebook and Google had been vacuuming up much of the online advertising money that news publishers had relied upon.

According to the report, Murdoch shared his concerns at a meeting with Zuckerberg and suggested that his company would push back if Facebook did not offer more favorable terms.

Wired reports that Zuckerberg and other executives worried the executive chairman of the News Corp. empire would start pushing for federal regulators to look into Facebook's influence and practices.

They also worried Murdoch would use his media to cover Facebook more critically. News Corp., though, insisted that was not part of any plans, according to the report.


Facebook took the implied threat seriously because of suspicions that News Corp. had tried to undermine them in the past. A former Facebook executive told Wired the company believed Murdoch was responsible for accounts pushing predatory content in 2007, when Facebook was already under pressure from state attorneys general and in the press to do more to crack down on online sexual predators.

“We traced the creation of the Facebook accounts to IP addresses at the Apple store a block away from the MySpace offices in Santa Monica,” the former executive said. “Facebook then traced interactions with those accounts to News Corp lawyers. When it comes to Facebook, Murdoch has been playing every angle he can for a long time.”

According to Wired, the 2016 meeting prompted Zuckerberg to change Facebook’s approach and start partnering with the news industry.

Murdoch has remained critical of Silicon Valley, pushing for an antitrust crackdown of Google in the European Union that resulted in a record fine last year. Last month, he also urged Facebook to start paying publishers carriage fees similar to how cable companies pay for programming.