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Media firings bring heat on Facebook, Google



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Critics point to Facebook and Google after a week of high-profile layoffs in the media industry, signaling their dominance over Internet ads as the reason the media is struggling.

BuzzFeed announced last week that it would cut 15 percent of its staff, including 43 journalists in its news division. On the same day, HuffPost's parent company, Verizon, said it planned to lay off 7 percent of its media division, which also includes Yahoo News. And Gannett, the local newspaper holding company that publishes USA Today, began a new round of cuts at its regional outlets.

In total, about 1,000 jobs in the media were eliminated last week. Some are blaming owners and hedge funds, but many point to the power of Facebook and Google over the online advertising revenue market as the reason why the media is struggling to establish a business model stable.

The two companies absorb most of the advertising revenue on the Internet in the US. UU And critics say that the current state of affairs leaves little for the affected newspapers after years of decline in printing revenue.

"This was not a turning point last week," said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a business group that represents digital content companies. "It's another milestone in what has been a constant loss in journalism jobs."

Some left-wing legislators see the problems of the media industry as a crisis.

"The biggest threats to journalism at this time are technology monopolies and concentration of ownership," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezKamala Harris backs the "Green New Deal" from Ocasio-Cortez in Hillicon Valley: United States files criminal charges against Huawei | Facebook reveals new plans to end disinformation | Ocasio-Cortez hits technology giants at an event with climate skeptics Overnight Energy: Trump hits Venezuela's state oil company with new sanctions | EPA boasts of the achievements of 2018 | Ocasio-Cortez presses technological giants on the weather MORE (D-N.Y.) He wrote on Twitter after the layoffs.

"The fact is that the current monopoly trend is socially and economically unsustainable," he continued in another tweet. "We can not just accept the cliché that" journalism is dying. "Journalism will only die if we choose not to fight for it, and if journalism dies, our democracy will also."

Fellow Rep. Democrat David CicillineThe committees of David Nicola CicillineHouse will hold a joint hearing on the T-Mobile-Dint merger. Dems will revive the conversation about the impeachment after the last Cohen Hillicon Valley bomb: the election of Trump AG signals a new scrutiny of the technological giants | Wireless service providers in the new privacy storm | SEC submits charges in hack agency | Facebook invests 0M in local news PLUS (R.I.) accumulated, adding, "A diverse and free press can not survive unless we face the power of Facebook and Google."

With the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, Cicilline now chairs the subcommittee of the Judicial Branch of the House of Representatives of the antitrust law and has made it clear that he has his sights set on the two giants.

"His power is amazing," he wrote in a tweet last week. "Google / FB has created new ways to spread hatred and misinformation. The press, and the fabric of our democracy, is at its mercy unless Congress does something. "

Facebook and Google declined to comment to The Hill.

Companies have always been aware of the criticism that the money they earn in advertising revenue has come at the expense of media publishers. Both companies have increased their reach to journalists in recent years through fact-checking associations and charitable donations.

In the last year, companies have pledged $ 300 million to support journalism.

But as his domain grows, that scrutiny could intensify.

Google and Facebook combined a rake of approximately 58 cents of every dollar spent on online advertising in 2018, according to an analysis by eMarketer. Amazon and Microsoft were tied for third place, and each obtained approximately 4 percent of the market.

Another study conducted by market research firm Pivotal found that in 2017 Facebook and Google accounted for 73 percent of the online advertising market.

Digital publishers have been experimenting with ways to gather enough of what is left to survive or to challenge the duopoly control of advertisers.

Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, has taken the company to retail and has launched social media programs to diversify its product. But he has also asked digital publishers to follow the example of newspapers and media sectors through consolidation in order to gain more influence to negotiate with Internet gatekeepers.

"If BuzzFeed and five of the other larger companies combined into a larger digital media company, they could probably get more money paid," Peretti told the New York Times in November.

Other technology critics have also offered remedies to alleviate the effect of internet giants in the media. After Facebook announced changes in its news service designed to combat the spread of misinformation, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., lashed out at the company and said it should be subsidizing publishers who see their fate increasing and decreases with each Change to the social network algorithm.

"If Facebook wants to recognize" reliable "publishers, it should pay those publishers a transportation fee similar to the model adopted by the cable companies," Murdoch said in a statement at the time. "Publishers are obviously improving the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content, but they are not being adequately rewarded for those services."

Those arguments have found a receptive audience among some Democratic lawmakers.

Cicilline has proposed creating an antitrust loophole to allow media companies to participate in collective bargaining with Internet giants.

Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next, says that unless Congress reduces the vast data-gathering practices of technology giants, it is unlikely that publishers will solve their problems by grouping or expanding.

He argues that since Facebook and Google reach and collect data on billions of users, advertisers will be more attracted to their services because it allows them to focus on the target audience.

"Both companies rely on collecting as much data as possible to microtect users around the world," Kint told The Hill.

"They are data intermediaries more than anything."

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