Sen. Al Franken slams Facebook and Google's control of the press

From Engadget - November 9, 2017

The Minnesota Senator noted that news publishers spend money, time and talent chasing down stories, but are beholden to companies concerned with revenue, not informed public discourse. "The content creators that rely on [those] platforms to reach consumers have lost all their leverage," he said. "Google, Facebook and Amazon have used their algorithms to extract unfair terms and fees from those dependent on their platforms."

With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which does not.

A recent example of that is Facebook's recent "pay to play" experiment that relegated publisher's articles in six markets from the main News Feed to a harder-to-reach area called the Explore Feed. That caused a stark drop in organic traffic for sites in those countries, something that would force publishers to make up the deficit by buying ads instead. Facebook said that it was not planning on releasing the service globally, but many publishers found the mere presence of the test alarming.


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