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Knewz.com, which was launched in January 2020 and owned by News Corp has been shut down.

The goal behind the platform was to provide aggregate news operating across the political spectrum.

Perhaps the most enticing draw to this site from a publisher’s perspective was the fact that Knewz was operating without Google and Facebook’s ‘alleged bias’.

However, there is no supporting evidence to this allegation of bias.

Operating in Direct Opposition to Tech Giants

The premise of the platform was to showcase original news stories from outlets that Knewz believed were being demoted in Google and Facebooks search results.

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The platform would favor original reporting over rehashes of articles and would showcase stories from big and small corporations regardless of political stance. Knewz would also share data directly with publishers.

News Corp spokesperson, James Kennedy, stated that:

“We are exploring this with the goal of recognizing and rewarding the provenance of journalism, and to drive traffic and data to publishers—including subscription sites—so their original work is respected…We want people to see a wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent or bias.”

Rather than hosting the stories directly on the site, Knewz would link to the original article, providing additional visibility outside of the Search Engine and social platform.

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The news articles would be sourced via human curation and scanning software.

Knewz Was Created Amid Geopolitical Turmoil

Around the same time the Knewz platform was launched, Australia was attempting to pass a law that would force the likes of Google and Facebook to pay publishers to display their news content.

Google eventually agreed to pay both Australia and France for Google News stories and has since launched the Google News Showcase, which pays publishers for the content they publish within the showcase.

Why Knewz Was Closed Down

News Corp owns several successful publications, such as the New York Post and Wall Street Journal in the U.S., and The Sun and The Times in the UK as well as many others internationally.

So, in lieu of so much success elsewhere, what led to Knewz being shut down?

Knewz closing down note

According to the closing note on the website, Knewz wasn’t profitable enough to remain in operation.

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The note also recommends and links to other News Corp websites, therefore, while the platform was short-lived, a mere 18 months, News Corp may still be able to profit from the website in the immediate future.

Perhaps the platform has served its purpose now that Google is offering publishers remuneration for their content. Although if it was hoping to become a direct competitor to the tech giant, it has certainly failed. Just last month, Google reported that millions of users are engaging with their Web Stories every day.

This isn’t the first time a platform has been built with opposing a tech giant playing at least a small part in its mission objective.

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Earlier this year, Search Engine Journal reported on a new ad-free search engine built by ex-Google employees.

The likes of Google and Facebook will always have competition, the question is, when will something be launched that will cause the tech giants to quake in their boots, and what will that look like?

Image Credit

Screenshot taken by Rebekah Dunne, July 2021

Sources: Bloomberg, The Verge.



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