News Corp CEO: Crack down on Big Tech’s self-dealing

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News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said on Wednesday that unless governments act now to stop so-called “self-priority” on the Internet, the opportunity could be lost forever.

Two laws now going through Congress target the ability of companies that both market products and provide a sales platform to bring their own goods to consumers while bypassing their competitors. . For example, Amazon is able to promote Amazon-branded t-shirts ahead of competitors when users search for t-shirts on the e-commerce giant’s website.

Speaking to WPP CEO Mark Reid at WPP Beach, Thomson said the big risk is that without better oversight, e-commerce platforms could tune algorithms to “exploit” existing antitrust laws. [their] Market power, useful but imperceptible. ,

He later said, “We’re getting to the point where the potential for manipulating five years is as real as ever, but virtually unattainable if we don’t already address these issues.”

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“I support the debate because it brings more knowledge about how they work. They’re not mysterious, self-perpetuating mechanisms,” he said, “they have human-set parameters.”

He said News Corp — which owns Big Five book publisher HarperCollins — is vulnerable because Amazon publishes audiobooks but also owns audiobook e-commerce platform Audible.

“95% of audiobooks in the US are sold through Audible,” he said, adding that “the temptation to self-preference is enormous.”

Thomson and Reid also discussed the possibilities of Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse project as a whole.

Thomson said his success could depend on how badly the Facebook mogul wants it to become his company’s own online fiefdom and how willing he is to allow other companies to interact with it. “Will it be merchverse or deformed,” he joked.

“The question is how to separate the hype from reality,” said Reed, who said the excitement surrounding the project could be like the crypto craze that has been halted by the recent crypto market slump. .

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