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News outlets seek to negotiate with Google, Facebook on ads

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    News outlets are seeking permission from Congress for the right to negotiate jointly with Google and Facebook, two companies that dominate online advertising and online news traffic.

NEW YORK >> News outlets are seeking permission from Congress for the right to negotiate jointly with Google and Facebook, two companies that dominate online advertising and online news traffic.

The News Media Alliance, which represents nearly 2,000 news organizations, said the two companies’ dominance have forced news organizations to “play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized and monetized.”

“These rules have commoditized the news and given rise to fake news, which often cannot be differentiated from real news,” the alliance said in a press release on Monday.

It won’t be easy getting a congressional antitrust exemption to negotiate as a group. But the alliance’s chief executive, David Chavern, said in an interview that trying is better than doing nothing.

The news industry has been hit with declining print readership and a loss of advertising revenue as it has moved online.

The outlets want stronger protections for intellectual property, support for subscription models and a bigger share of the online advertising market. Google and Facebook combined will account for 60 percent of the U.S. digital advertising market this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said in a statement that the company is “committed to helping quality journalism thrive on Facebook. We’re making progress through our work with news publishers and have more work to do.”

For example, the company said it is testing new products to help its users discover local news on Facebook. The company also said it is working to cut down on false news and clickbait headlines in favor of “quality journalism.”

Google also said it wants to help news organizations “with both their challenges, and their opportunities.” The company said it has built several specialized products and technologies “specifically to help distribute, fund, and support newspapers.”

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