For a control-freak like Rupert Murdoch, who has instilled an
entrenched culture of editorial subservience at his media outlets over 53 years,
ploughing billions of dollars on the internet is surely a cultural
shock.

As Crikey has demonstrated, Rupert can’t stop people from sledging him
on the internet to tens of thousands of people. However, he now has to
deal with the phenomenon of getting sledged on his own websites.

News Corp’s MySpace.com is the world’s biggest internet community with
more than 50 million members, but some of them object to the corporate
takeover. The Bulletin has Rupert on the cover this week with a relatively pedestrian Newsweek interview about the internet. The most interesting exchanges were as follows:

Reporter: Can we find any postings from you on Myspace?

Rupert: There are about 60 Rupert Murdochs up there. People post
me there. Some aren’t polite. They feel they own MySpace and that the
big corporation was going to come in and change it. Well, we haven’t.

Reporter: Even as we speak, police are investigating claims that
sexual predators have trolled MySpace for young victims. What are you
doing about this?

Rupert: We’re being very proactive. We plan to reach out further
to school principals, church groups and community organisations to
educate them on safety measures we’ve developed. For example, no one
under 14 is allowed to register on the site, and there are strict
limits on who can access profiles of users under 16. We’ve also got a
third of our workforce monitoring the site to prevent inappropriate
material being posted.

Check out the first Rupert profile that comes up in a MySpace
search. He’s single and has three friends, one of whom is Buddha. So
Rupert’s not stopping jokers pretending to be him, but if they make him
out to be a sexual predator, it will be pulled by one of his growing
army of censors.

The whole question of anonymity on the web was raised by The SMH’s Andrew Stevenson in this interesting piece
last week. Whilst former Eisa CEO Damien Brady complains about
inaccurate material dragged up by Google hurting his employment
prospects, it should be remembered that Brady did lie about his MBA in
the prospectus and Eisa did fail spectacularly.

Finally, Rupert has been more active in the media than usual lately, as this illuminating recent BBC interview demonstrates.

Peter Fray

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