Knewz, News Corp’s News Aggregator, Goes Live

Service features headlines from about 400 local and national news sources from across political spectrum

News Corp NWS -0.72% on Wednesday launched, a news-aggregation service aimed at competing with platforms like Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG +0.35% Google News that the media company has complained doesn’t adequately recompense publishers.

The service features headlines from about 400 local and national news sources, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsmax and the Nation.

“There are mastheads from across the political and regional spectrum, and premium publishers will not be relegated in the rankings,” Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp said in a statement.

News Corp is the parent company of The Wall Street Journal. The news-aggregation service also features headlines from across News Corp’s portfolio including the New York Post, the Times of London and the Sun in the U.K., as well as many papers in Australia.

The articles on will link directly to publishers’ sites, and News Corp will receive no remuneration. News Corp says it will share data with those publishers and prominently tag each link with the name of its source.

News Corp said it developed the site, in part, to give exposure to media outlets that the company felt were often demoted in Google’s search results and Facebook Inc.’s social feed. Mr. Thomson has long been a vocal critic of how the algorithms used by big tech platforms affect publishers’ ability to reach audiences.

Google and Facebook have said their algorithms don’t rank or prioritize content based on the political leanings of news organizations.

News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch has argued that tech companies should pay licensing fees for the use of news stories published by other media companies.

Since the Journal first reported News Corp’s development of the service in August, the company—along with other publishers—has reached a deal with Facebook to receive a licensing fee for the use of its story links inside a recently launched news tab on the social-media platform.

The company also reached a deal last year with Apple Inc. to take part in its subscription news bundle, Apple News +, in return for a share of the subscription revenue.

Google hasn’t agreed to pay news companies directly but has argued that it plays a key role in helping news outlets monetize online content through the traffic its search engine sends to their sites and revenue generated through Google’s ad platforms, which most publishers rely on.

Facebook Only Cares About Facebook

Whatever Mark Zuckerberg says about human community or his legacy, his company is acting in its own interests—and against the public good.

Facebook’s crushing blow to independent media arrived last fall in Slovakia, Cambodia, Guatemala, and three other nations.The social giant removed stories by these publishers from users’ news feeds, hiding them in a new, hard-to-find stream. These independent publishers reported that they lost as much as 80 percent of their audience during this experiment.Facebook doesn’t care. At least, it usually seems that way… the company is now going ahead with similar changes to its news feed globally. These changes will likely de-prioritize stories from professional publishers, and instead favor dispatches published by a user’s friends and family. .. Many American news organizations will see the sharp traffic declines their brethren in other nations experienced last year—unless they pay Facebook to include their stories in readers’ feeds.

.. People say they’re interested in a broad range of news from different political preferences, but Facebook knows they really want angry, outraged articles that confirm political prejudices... Publishers in Slovakia and in the United States may warn of damage to democracy if Facebook readers receive less news, but Facebook knows people will be perfectly happy—perfectly engaged—with more posts from friends and families instead.

.. When people choose to subscribe to reliable news sources, they’re asking to go to the gym. With these newsfeed changes, Facebook threw out your gym shoes and subscribed you to a donut delivery service. Why do 2 billion people put up with a service that patronizingly reminds them that it’s designed for their well being, while it studiously ignores our stated preferences?
.. I think the only way Facebook will listen to people’s expressed preferences is if people start building better alternatives.
.. Right now, Facebook chooses what stories should top your news feed, optimizing for “engagement” and “time well spent.”
..Instead of telling Facebook what it should do, people should build tools that let them view the world the way they choose. If regulators force Facebook and other platforms to police news quality, they’ll give more control to a platform that’s already demonstrated its disinterest editorial judgment. A better path would be to force all platforms to adopt two simple rules:
  1. Users own their own data, including the content they create and the web of relationships they’ve built online. And they can take this data with them from one platform to another, or delete it from an existing platform.
  2. Users can view platforms like Facebook through an aggregator, a tool that lets you read social media through your own filters, like Gobo.
.. it either needs to learn to listen to its users stated desires, or it needs to make room for platforms that do.