Newspapers to bid for antitrust exemption to tackle Google and Facebook – CNBC

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In this photo illustration a selection of UK national newspapers are displayed together on October 30, 2013 in London, England.

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The News Media Alliance argue that, despite their growing dominance in news distribution, Facebook and Google lack the resources and ability to guarantee the accuracy of reporting upheld by reputable news associations. Facebook in particular came under fire during the 2016 U.S. presidential election when it failed to suitably monitor the news content on its platform and was seen to host unverified articles.

“(Facebook and Google) don’t employ reporters: They don’t dig through public records to uncover corruption, send correspondents into war zones, or attend last night’s game to get the highlights. They expect an economically squeezed news industry to do that costly work for them,” David Chavern, president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, wrote in anopinion piece published Sunday in the Wall Street Journal.

“The only way publishers can address this inexorable threat is by banding together,” he continued.

“If they open a unified front to negotiate with Google and Facebook — pushing for stronger intellectual-property protections, better support for subscription models and a fair share of revenue and data — they could build a more sustainable future for the news business.”

Chavern added that antitrust laws are currently “insulating” Google and Facebook from market forces, but said that news publishers remain committed to “unleashing those forces to defend their investments in great journalism.”

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When contacted by CNBC Monday, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said the business, which recently celebrated 2 billion users, was committed to aiding quality journalism.

“We’re committed to helping quality journalism thrive on Facebook. We’re making progress through our work with news publishers and have more work to do,” Brown said via email.

Google added that it wanted to support the news industry’s continued transition towards digital.

“We want to help news publishers succeed as they transition to digital. In recent years we’ve built numerous specialized products and technologies, developed specifically to help distribute, fund, and support newspapers. This is a priority and we remain deeply committed to helping publishers with both their challenges, and their opportunities,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC via email.

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