Friday, August 16, 2019

A Modest Proposal on Technology Monololies

There's a lot of chatter about breaking up technology monopolies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here's my $.02 on how I'd handle the situation.

First off I don't believe this is a First Amendment issue - I believe it is an Antitrust issue.

Nobody is forcing anyone to be on any of these platforms.  It's a completely voluntary relationship. If YouTube decides to "deplatform" a content creator or take down certain videos - that's their choice. They own the platform and you've chosen to partake in their "free" product and services. (If they selectively edited your content or used it without permission or compensation - then that's  different story).

Remember if you're not paying for a service then you are the product.

Personally I'd like to see YouTube decoupled from Google and Instagram decoupled from Facebook. The Instagram acquisition should never have been allowed under antitrust grounds.

I would then restrict any technology market leader (say any company controlling 75% or more of a market like Google with search engines and online advertising) from buying any companies (startup or otherwise) in that market space. It is the stifling of competition that is the real problem. Facebook may well have been a husk of its former self revenue-wise because of its ongoing privacy abuses if not for also owning Instagram. A deal like that never should have been allowed.

Any technology advancements in those market spaces would then have to be "homegrown". Force the big tech companies to remain innovators. Not deep pocket bullies who just buy the competition.

Acquisitions outside of the core competencies and markets? Like Amazon buying Whole Foods? That's something else and something that should probably be still allowed. 


  1. It's a "back of the bus" "separate drinking fountains" issue. Facebook is a public accommodation. They have to let anybody in, or nobody. They don't get to pick and choose.

    In other words, Facebook needs to bake my cake.

  2. Exactly, McChuck. Chris, your prescriptions would work in a more civilized age. That is not the age we live in. People were brought in, allowed to flourish, grew these platforms into the only game in town, and are now being told to hit the road.

    Not only that, but the ratchet only works one way, and I'm fucking sick of it. I want these progressive pricks punished. The only fascism in the United States is being practiced on the Left, and I want them reined in. These tech companies will be actively working to suppress my votes and opinions in the future. I don't have to like it, and I don't want to reward it.

  3. I don't disagree that there is a certain element of public accommodations to the issue. Just as you can't refuse to rent an apartment based upon race, religion, sexual preference etc. there should also be some legal penalties for companies that discriminate based upon political beliefs (and shadow banning, demonitization, etc. is discrimination). There should be legal ramifications for that,

    But there is also an element of voluntary association and why would you hang out with a person who treats you as second class because who you voted for? If there was an alternative to Facebook they would probably lose half their subscribers. Instagram could have been that apolitical alternative.

    Difficult situation and not easily solved.

  4. Voluntary association died in the 50 years ago. Progressives excel at using the levers of power to get what they want. If we don't do the same, we're going to lose every single argument.