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Antitrust scrutiny is leading to Google and Facebook building bridges with legacy media

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The visibility that news obtains within services such as Google or Facebook has always been a sensitive issue. How the system determines what content should be the first to appear is not transparent to the great majority of the editors, who have been indicating for years that justice is not done to their work.

However, this could change in the coming months on both platforms. Apart from the different regulatory antitrust sanctions that have been imposed on them, both Google and Facebook have wanted to demonstrate their commitment to promoting the original journalistic work.

Google has indicated that they finally have the appropriate technology to separate the rewritten content from the original works so that the latter has priority in the algorithm. Richard Gingras, vice president of Google News, wanted to show his commitment to the changes, so he wrote in a blog that both the search engine and 10,000 human evaluators have been restructured to give greater importance to the original content.

Facebook is doing their part offering exclusivity contracts to different media to be able to publish their reports in a new news tab. These articles would be evaluated by a human staff, who will be responsible for allowing only “quality” content.

Opinions found among specialized media

Given the possible changes that occur in both platforms (especially in Google), multiple communication professionals have given their opinion, indicating in most cases that “they will be closely monitoring the changes”. Robert Thomson, Executive Chairman of News Corp, applauded the intentions of modifying policies that have long been damaging the business for smaller reporters who cannot compete with the sites that rewrite the articles.

Facebook’s strategy seems to be more to the liking of publishers since different reports indicate that they have offered millionaire sums to publish exclusive content within the social network. Facebook would be offering up to 3 million dollars a year to large publishers, and 500 thousand dollars a year to smaller platforms.

While grateful for the changes in the Google algorithm, Jonah Peretti (chief executive of BuzzFeed), Rupert Murdoch (chief executive of News Corp) and Ben Smith (chief editor of BuzzFeed), indicated that they would prefer the search engine to adopt the policy to pay for the content that Facebook offers.

No one knows for sure if the new policies are a way to mitigate the regulations imposed by governments to end the monopoly of Google and Facebook, who reported having 60% control of digital marketing over the past year.

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