Lobbying with lies
Did Google make $4.7 billion from the news industry last year? It did if you believe the New York Times
, in a story that was based entirely on a report from the News Media Alliance, a US news industry lobbying group.
Scratch beneath the lede though, and you’d quickly see that this figure was total guesswork based off a figure from 2008. And given that Google News isn’t monetised, it’s incredibly questionable that Google made anything close to $4.7 billion from the news industry in 2018.
But if you’re a lobbying group trying to compensate for news publishers’ failings by blaming it all on Google, anything goes, I suppose.
”The ad market changed in a number of ways—many having to do with an expansion of choice—and Google and Facebook took advantage of that. Newspaper publishers did not, for a variety of reasons. Asking Google or Facebook to pay back something they theoretically took from the industry is mistaking effect for cause. It’s also a mistake to think that
bargaining collectively with the platforms will somehow produce revenue that will save the media industry from the change occurring all around it.”
There are plenty of reasons to criticise big tech companies, but a big, scary, made-up number that absolves you of any responsibility for your own existential problems isn’t one of them.