UK newspaper industry regulator wants Google and Facebook to pay journalism tax
Google, Facebook and other sites that host news content on their platforms should pay an annual tax to fund journalism in the UK. This is the stance of the News Media Association, the British newspaper industry's trade body which represents most of the UK media.
The organization's proposal to the UK government comes as the British newspaper industry shrunk from £6.8 billion ($8.94 billion) to £3.6 billion ($4.73 billion) from 2007 to 2017, the Guardian reported Tuesday.
“The primary focus of concern today is the loss of advertising revenues which have previously sustained quality national and local journalism and are now flowing to the global search engines and social media companies who make no meaningful contribution to the cost of producing the original content from which they so richly benefit," the organization said.
Google and Facebook's platforms are an increasingly significant source of news; according to a 2017 Pew report, two thirds of Americans get some of their news on social media. Research from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford showed that, in 2018, social media was a news source for 39% of people in the UK.
But a similar proposal in Spain in 2014 has not gone very well, as Google simply shut down its News service in that country.
The News Media Association also proposed that Facebook shared its revenue with newspapers when their stories appear in users' feeds, even if the users don't click on them.
Furthermore, the NMA would like tech companies to give "reasonable notice" when they make changes to their terms of business or algorithms that affect news publishers. Facebook has often been the target of criticism for abrupt changes to its algorithms.
The NMA also touched on the widely publicized fake news problem. Under their proposal, tech companies would have the same legal responsibility as the publishers whose content they carry, and would be watched over by an independent regulator.
"This would incentivize the aggregators to promote verified news content over fake news and other harmful content," NMA claims.
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September 25, 2018 at 06:51AM