NMA: Google, Facebook Business Models Fuel Fake News

The head of the News Media Alliance, which represents almost 2,000 newspapers, told a House committee Tuesday (Oct.24) that Google, Facebook and other edge players are news gatekeepers that have fueled fake news and "harmed the integrity of content and advertising."

That is because the edge business model is based on "not exercising responsibility over the integrity of content of the advertising that sustains its foundation," David Chavern, NMA president, said during a House Oversight Committee Information Technology Subcommittee hearing on political ad laws and how they may need to be changed or updated in the digital era and in the wake of revelations Russian Facebook and Google ads targeted to influence the 2016 presidential election.

"It is now time that Google and Facebook be asked to make the same commitments as publishers and modernize their platforms to help stem the flow of misinformation — a problem that is largely of their own making," Chavern said.

Related: Publishers Seek Hill Help Against Digital Duopoly: Facebook, Google

He said Federal Election Commission rules should require disclosures within internet ads, and that Google and Facebook should update their business models to elevate reputable content in search and news feeds.

Chavern said the public "should no longer have to suffer from unreliable information because it is profitable, while producers of content [like his newspaper members] continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.