The end of Google’s “first click free policy,” which required online publishers to offer at least three free articles before charging readers, is a good thing for “legitimate journalism,” Robert Thomson, the Chief Executive of News Corp, said on Monday.
“The felicitous demise of First Click Free (Second Click Fatal) is an important first step in recognizing the value of legitimate journalism and provenance on the internet,” he said in a statement.
“We will monitor this change closely to ensure that consumers can indeed find the work of our journalists online, and will report what we learn, for better or for worse,” the statement continued. “If the change is properly introduced, the impact will be profoundly positive for journalists everywhere and for the cause of informed societies.”
“Fake news has prospered on digital platforms which have commodified content and thus enabled bad actors to game the system for commercial or political gain,” he said.
Google is responsible for driving 10 billion clicks to online publishers every month, and the company sees the move as a way to help publishers complete the transition from print to digital. “We really recognize the transition to digital for publishers hasn’t been easy,” said Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler, according to the Wall Street Journal. “The economics are pretty clear: If publishers aren’t successful, we can’t be successful.”
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