News Corp CEO Slams Google, Social Media Companies for ‘Unnatural Act’ of Redistributing Content

Robert Thomson turns Google’s “Alphabet” against it in awards keynote: “A is for Avarice, B is for Bowdlerize, through to K for Kleptocracy, P for Piracy and Z for Zealotry”

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson tore into Google, its new holding company Alphabet, social media websites and Silicon Valley overall during a keynote speech at an Australian journalism awards dinner on Friday.

“That Google’s newly conceived parent company is to be called Alphabet has itself created a range of delicious permutations: A is for Avarice, B is for Bowdlerize, through to K for Kleptocracy, P for Piracy and Z for Zealotry,” Thomson said of the technology company and its newly announced parent company, Alphabet.

Thomson is a longtime news executive, having served as editor-in-chief of Dow Jones, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor of The Times. He has also held posts at the Financial Times, including editor of the US edition, editor of the Weekend FT and assistant editor, as well as having been a correspondent in Tokyo and in Beijing. News Corp publishes newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post and is parent to HarperCollins book publishing unit.

Thomson also blasted social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook in his speech at the Lowy Institute Media Awards: “None of them actually create content, and they certainly have little intention of paying for it, but they do redistribute the content created by others — they would argue that such redistribution is a natural extension of their role as social networks. I would argue that much of the redistribution is an unnatural act.

“We are entering a new phase of development by the big distribution networks, a phase in which they are not only appropriating content but deciding what content is appropriate and inappropriate,” he continued. “They are appointing editors not to create but to curate. And these curators tend to have a certain mindset, a deep fondness for political correctness, and a tendency to be intolerant of ideological infractions.”

Thomson also took aim at LinkedIn: “The spammers at LinkedIn discovered that CVs are only burnished occasionally and anyone who tweaks their CV a few times a week is probably not worth hiring. Anyway, they now see themselves as a news distributor, and news organizations who cozy up too closely to them are guilty of techno trendiness. It is patently important to be aware of the trends but a grievous sin to be too trendy.”

Thomson’s full remarks are here, and readers can listen to the audio below.

His News Corp reported their fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday, which TheWrap covered here.