News chief warns of tech regulation
The CEO of News Corp says tech giants Google and Facebook face a “reckoning” in the form of more regulation.
News CEO Robert Thomson has criticised politicians for allowing ‘Big Digital’ to avoid compliance.
“Had fewer politicians - in London, Washington and elsewhere - not been seduced by net narcissism, we may have cognisant communities better able to cope with the e-existential challenges,” he said at a speech in Melbourne.
“That includes, sometimes tragically, the teenagers whose insecurities and vulnerabilities are magnified cruelly in so-called social media, or the seemingly powerful global companies that panic and prevaricate at the first mutterings of an anti-social media mob.”
Mr Thomson said more vigorous debate about digital platforms is welcome.
“It's clear there will be more regulation of companies who have sought to defy definition and avoid a reckoning.”
But he warned against rushing new laws.
“That we in the West are clumsily grappling with these issues as 'developed' nations makes one wonder what the impact will be on countries like China, India and Indonesia that are combining their industrial revolution with a digital revolution, coping with mass rural-to-urban mobility in the age of the mobile,” he said.
Mr Thomson claimed a mob mentality and “illiberal liberals” are on a “seemingly endless, insatiable quest for indignation and umbrage”.
Mr Thomson specifically named Google, criticising it for disbanding its artificial intelligence advisory council.
The Australian-born, US-based CEO has railed against digital platforms before.
“We have institutionally ingrained some seriously bad behaviour and have dominant digital companies culturally ill-equipped to cope with the contemporary challenges,” he said.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently warned that virtually no media regulation applies to digital platforms, but they now provide similar services to media businesses.