The brouhaha over Facebook and Google’s owner Alphabet being forced to pay for news is threatening to change the way the free world wide web has worked so far. The traditional business model of newspapers has been to package news alongside advertising and charge for newsstand copies or subscription. The advent of the internet turned that upside down as newspapers shed classified and display ads to tech giants, which were able to connect advertisers to readers they wanted to reach through precise ad targeting instead of casting a wide net. Is it payback time for Facebook and Google, or will they succeed in changing the narrative and make it all about “free” Internet?

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