Tag: Social Media

What will the U.S. do about Facebook and Google?

Read Will Antitrust Action Against Big Tech Resolve Anything?

What will the U.S. do about Facebook and Google?

Some people would like to see the companies broken up. They propose surgical cuts: Facebook must relinquish WhatsApp and Instagram, while parent company Alphabet could spin off feeder products from advertising-funded search.

On what grounds? We know that bigness per se is no crime. Are these companies “essential facilities” that left fewer, more expensive options for consumers?

The problem is that many of these companies’ products cost us nothing, at least in terms of dollars. It doesn’t look like Facebook or Google have been lowering product quality, either. In general, there’s a lot of competition when it comes to social media platforms and search, even if people choose not to use them very much.

READ MORE What will the U.S. do about Facebook and Google?

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes thinks “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”

Read It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

Mark is still the same person I watched hug his parents as they left our dorm’s common room at the beginning of our sophomore year. He is the same person who procrastinated studying for tests, fell in love with his future wife while in line for the bathroom at a party and slept on a mattress on the floor in a small apartment years after he could have afforded much more. In other words, he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.

Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.

Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government.
Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks. I’m disappointed in myself and the early Facebook team for not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders. And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.

[caption id="attachment_51100" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Aimee Vogelsang[/caption]

READ MORE Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes thinks “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”