News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson has said that the digital world is “dysfunctional from a content creative perspective” and that Google and Facebook need to change their behaviour to ensure that publishers can continue to invest in journalism.

In an interview with Digiday, Mr Thomson, pictured above, said that the tech giants were facing “a time of reckoning” in which they would have to confront a range of issues including piracy and working to create “a more coherent systemic issue of provenance.”

Mr Thomson said: “The type of regulation I would argue for is self-regulation, a change in behavior that’s benefit to our long-term models. We’ve been engaged with Brussels and their investigation. We’re in constant discussions with both Google and Facebook.

“We hope we can come to agreements with everything from confronting piracy to a more coherent systemic issue of provenance. There’s obviously a debate in Facebook about its role, commercial and social. They’re in the midst of a storm that’s not going to go away anytime soon.

“The base issue for any digital company is, are you compliant or are you complicit? Facebook is a publisher, and like all publishers, you have a responsibility for what you publish. Even if the word “publisher” is hard to utter.”

The News Media Association and local and national publishers have called for an urgent investigation into the impact of Google, Facebook, and a digital advertising supply chain which has been described by the world’s largest advertiser Procter & Gamble as “murky at best, fraudulent at worst”.

Mr Thomson added: There’s no doubt in Washington, there is a time of reckoning. The digital world is dysfunctional from a content creative perspective. When you do a search now, so many answers are people gaming search optimisation or clickbait.

“I think we imagined, perhaps naïvely, that the web would become more sophisticated not less. There’s no doubt it can play a role, but it’s become clogged.”