News Corp. calls for a review board to oversee the algorithms by which social-media companies distribute news. “It’s not something that you tend to think of, Rupert Murdoch calling for any form of regulation,” one professor said of the odd juxtaposition.
| Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Rupert Murdoch is aligning himself with some strange bedfellows — ivy tower academics and policy wonks — in calling for strong regulation of companies like Facebook and Google. Murdoch is famous for his conservative views on regulation, but as the owner of Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications, he has frequently criticized social-media companies for not adequately compensating news publishers, even as the platforms benefit from their content.
Robert Thomson, the CEO of Murdoch’s company, News Corp., took a step beyond criticism last week in an investor call, when he advocated the creation of an “algorithm review board,” which would essentially regulate the secret formulas platforms use to determine, among other things, what news is shown to which people. “I find myself surprisingly applauding them for calling for this kind of accountability,” said Mike Ananny, a professor of communication at the University of Southern California who wrote a book arguing that regulating these platforms and their algorithms is essential to a free press.
“It’s not something that you tend to think of, Rupert Murdoch calling for any form of regulation,” said Talia Stroud, a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “That is interesting bedfellows.” Your guide to the media circus — weekday mornings, in your inbox.
The idea of regulating algorithms is not new, but until now it has been confined mainly to academic circles. Thomson brought it out into the open, though, in the investor call. Read more from politico.com…
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