Nobody’s going to argue that Facebook is the best friend of news publishers. Nope, not even if it announces an expansion of its News Tab. And especially not when it’s wildly accusing publishers of a concerted and unfair effort to bring it down. Both of those linked examples happened yesterday, and that’s the point – Facebook’s attitude to publishers is contradictory due to its sheer scale. It’s not publishers’ enemy or friend – it’s too big to be either.
So we’re always frustrated when people in our industry claim the Duopoly is wholly good or wholly bad for the news industry, when the reality is that it’s both to varying degrees. Most infuriating of all has been the fundamentally dishonest championing of Australia’s News Media Code as being a victory of ‘good publishers’ over the evil evil Duopoly, when it is far more nuanced.
In a guest post for Press Gazette, analyst Hal Crawford argues that the NMC is a bad way to tax Google and Facebook. For one thing, taking money directly from the platforms makes media companies complicit in their activities. For another, it disproportionately benefits the biggest players to the detriment of smaller publishers. It’s a good read, and makes clear that any campaign to make Google and Facebook pay for journalism is a wild oversimplification of the issue.
When we talk about the big players in media we often overlook Automattic. From using WordPress to open the internet up to a host of smaller publishers to its recent innovations in the ecommerce space, it’s worth checking in with Automattic every now and then just to see how the industry is evolving.
I have no time for Rupert Murdoch’s climate change denialism, nor the little sops his papers use to pretend they care about the environment. But it’s interesting to note that the slightly-less-black sheep of the family James Murdoch is launching a new climate change hub with the AP – which might actually do some good.
Tim Davie’s attitude to representation and visibility at the BBC is causing yet more problems. Now he’s offered to meet a prominent black media executive who “was blocked from a senior job at the broadcaster after making public interventions on race.”
This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: