Antitrust Should Be Used to Break Up Partisan Tech Giants Like Facebook, Google
Selwyn Duke, The Hill, December 27, 2016
How much face time will your news story get on Facebook? How many eyes will ogle it on Google? Too often, this is apparently determined not by whether the story is “fake” news or newsworthy, but by whether it’s politically correct. And it’s time to break up the Internet’s left-wing, information-conduit oligopoly.
If “knowledge is power” and “The pen is mightier than the sword,” entities controlling what pens you see are powerful indeed. Facebook and Google “account for 75% of all the referrals major news and entertainment sites now receive,” according to a Politico report in July.
Facebook boasts a 40 percent share of the social media market and 1.5 billion users worldwide, making this Internet “nation” more populous than any country on Earth. Upwards of 40 percent of American adults get news from the site.
Google accounts for 64 percent of all U.S. desktop search queries. In Europe, the figure is a whopping 90 percent. The company also owns YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing website.
How is this power used? Earlier this year, ex-Facebook employees admitted they routinely suppressed conservative news and were ordered to place relatively unpopular but company-favored (read: liberal) stories in their “trending” news section.
Now the social-media site — dubbed “Fakebook” by many — states it will label and essentially bury “fake news,” using as fact-checkers liberal outlets such as Snopes.com, Politifact and ABC, which themselves have peddled falsehoods.
And Google? In its June piece “The New Censorship,” U.S. News and World Report lists nine blacklists Google maintains. The site asks, “How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?” Moreover, the search giant announced last year that it was considering ranking sites not just based on popularity (which reflects the market), but on “truthfulness” — as determined, of course, by Google’s Democrat-donating techies.
So is it time to break up Facebook and Google? In principle, I may object to such things. But here’s the issue: if antitrust laws are unjust, eliminate them. But if we’re going to have them, they should be applied where most needed. As for Google, most people admits it’s “a de facto monopoly.” Libertarian tech investor Peter Thiel and ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer both think so, and even “Google chairman Eric Schmidt has admitted “we’re in that area.”
The breakup of AT&T’s Bell System was mandated in 1982. That came even without Bell denying service to people, blocking their calls or hiding their phone numbers based on the content of their conversations. The Internet and social media may be more like a party line, but that doesn’t mean they should reflect only the Democrat Party line.