Back to Africa Check

No, more than six media companies in world, and ‘the Rothschilds’ don’t own news agencies Reuters and AP

“There are 6 media companies that exist today, but there used to be 88,” begins text on a screenshot posted on Facebook in South Africa in April 2022.

“All 6 get their news from Reuters and the Associated Press. Reuters owns the AP and Rothschilds own Reuters.”

It includes a photo of Lord Jacob Rothschild, the fourth baron Rothschild.

The claim has also appeared on Twitter and websites.

It’s years old, and wrong on every point. And its core argument that “the Rothschilds” control all news is simply another example of a centuries-old antisemitic conspiracy theory targeting Jewish people.

There are thousands of “media companies that exist today”. Most who provide news do get some of it from wire services such as Reuters and the Associated Press. But any large and credible news outlet would also have its own journalists producing its own news.

More than this, “the Rothschilds” don’t own Reuters, and Reuters doesn’t own AP.

Let’s explain.

Media_False

Media is plural

The first problem with the claim is that it defines very little. What is a media company? Are there only six media companies in a single country, or across the world? And who are “the Rothschilds”?    

Media” can mean many things. It includes apps, websites, newspapers, books and magazines. Music, film and TV are also media, as are photos, artwork, graphics and illustrations. Advertising, marketing and public relations are part of the media industry. 

And while other fact-checkers have assumed that the claim applies to the USA only, it doesn’t say so. More than this, it has spread across the world.

Finally, “the Rothschilds” is simply antisemitic code for wealthy Jewish people. The screenshot shows Jacob Rothschild, who is English. But there are many other people with the surname Rothschild.

More than six ‘media companies’ in South Africa alone

The world has thousands of media companies – as does the USA. There are more than six major media companies in South Africa alone. They include:

And as mentioned above, those who produce news don’t rely solely on Reuters and AP. They have their own journalists.

But who actually owns Reuters? And does Reuters own AP?

Reuters owned by Thomson Reuters

Reuters has been owned by Thomson Reuters since 2008, when Canada’s Thomson corporation acquired the Reuters group and became Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is in turn traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

About two-thirds of Thomson Reuters shares are owned by Woodbridge. This is a private investment firm for the family of Roy Thomson, a Canadian who in 1934 founded what was to become the Thomson company.

David Thomson, chair of both Thomson Reuters and Woodridge, is the grandson of Roy Thompson. And no member of the Thomson Reuters board has the surname Rothschild.

AP – ‘independent news cooperative’

Reuters does not own the Associated Press. Instead, AP is an independent nonprofit cooperative owned by newspapers and broadcasters in the USA.

“We were founded as an independent news cooperative and remain owned by our US newspaper and broadcast members, steadfast in our mission to inform the world,” AP says on its website.

And again, no member of AP’s management committee or board of directors has the surname Rothschild.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.