Facebook and Google overcharging advertisers, Rupert Murdoch says in withering attack on tech giants

Rupert Murdoch has taken a swipe at Facebook and Google, insisting the time has come for “significant reform” of the digital landscape.

In remarks to News Corp shareholders, the company’s executive chairman accused Facebook of attempting to “silence conservative voices” and claimed Google was engaging in censorship.

Rupert Murdoch

“What we have seen in the past few weeks about the practices at Facebook and Google surely reinforces the need for significant reform,” Murdoch said. “There is no doubt that Facebook employees try to silence conservative voices and a quick Google News search on most contemporary topics often reveals a similar pattern of selectivity—or to be blunt, censorship.”

He also accused the companies of collusion on ad tech and overcharging advertisers.

“Let us be very clear about the consequences of that digital ad market manipulation: obviously, publishers have been materially damaged, but companies have also been over-charged for their advertising and consumers have thus paid too much for products,” he said.

Murdoch said recent issues have highlighted the “fundamental need for algorithmic transparency”.

“The idea falsely promoted by the platforms that algorithms are somehow objective and solely scientific is complete nonsense,” he said. “Algorithms are subjective and they can be manipulated by people to kill competition and damage other people, publishers and businesses.”

News Corp signed multimillion dollar agreements with both Facebook and Google earlier this year for news content. While the value of those deals has not been disclosed, global chief executive Robert Thompson said during the recent financial results presentation that the deals  “will add significant revenue annually – clearly into nine figures – and are a profoundly important part of the ongoing transformation of the content landscape”.

News Corp reported its “most profitable yet” for FY 2021, with success is across each business.

News Corp Australia has also been a vocal opponent of the digital platforms throughout the Australian Government’s News Media Bargaining Code development and enactment.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.