Buzzfeed founder and chief executive Jonah Peretti has said Facebook and Google face being regulated unless they do more to “support” news.
Peretti also took aim directly at Facebook for not sharing “any of the revenue from their main source of revenue – the News Feed”.
Facebook only shares revenue from its publishing platform Instant Articles and on-demand video service Watch, he said in an interview with Digiday.
“It’s in Facebook’s interest to share News Feed revenue, not because it’s good for the world, but [because] it allows Facebook to have some control of what’s showing up in the news feed.
“If they say they want local or trusted news, they say that will get more distribution and more revenue, so companies can produce more of it.”
Peretti said news is a “better business than people think” but it is “expensive” and “takes time to build trust”.
“If you want to bet on the future of news, you want to bet on people doing quality news, digital-only, reaching a lot of people,” he told Digiday.
“There will be more models for news. I think Google and Facebook are going to do more to support news. If they don’t, they’ll be regulated.”
Peretti’s comments chime with Press Gazette’s Duopoly campaign, which calls on Facebook and Google to stop destroying journalism and pay more back to news publishers on whose content they rely.
Peretti also said that a partial paywall for Buzzfeed “could make sense” but added that it is also important to “educate and inform” the broad public.
Asked if he was still committed to news, Peretti said: “I love our news business, and it’s very important to our strategy.”
He added: “News does provide prestige and charisma to a company that has benefits. I think news is increasingly going to be important to the platforms – Facebook is saying it doesn’t want fake news on the platform.”