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Conservatives, liberals unite against Silicon Valley (politico.com)
22 points by yohui 71 days ago | hide | past | web | 11 comments | favorite



I have certainly noticed this as well, even among my group of friends/associates. Both the Progressive and Conservative sides (which together make up a heavy majority of political opinion in the US) seem to be favoring regulation, and in some cases heavy regulation. They may have different reasons, but at the end of the day I don't see how you avoid the government clamp-down given the emerging political climate. I'm generally against regulation myself, but even I am wondering if it isn't needed.


I feel uneasy when I see people suggesting regulation by analogy e.g. with public utility regulation, as if laws regulating one sector could be transplanted onto another. Regulation must be properly thought through. But people seem to be rushing in to say that "this must be regulated" instead, even though it's not yet quite clear what "this" is. Is it "fake news"? Is it free speech? Is it market share? Yet these are all different issues.

For example, a case for economic regulation can be made for any service which exhibits network externalities. This might go in the way of limiting the market power of tech firms. But that would come short of pro-free speech regulations, and might say nothing about "fake news".


Ive had a bit to drink but hear me out, I never comment on sites.

You have essentially three companies, Google, Facebook, Microsoft. At this point they now dictate what roughly 2-4 billion people see everyday. If they begin censoring content they disagree with (and that can come from a small cadre of roughly 20-200 people per group, whether we are talking about google search, bing, youtube, etc) then they need to be regulated. Honestly, I believe that most people would agree that these entities need to be broken up via trust acts. BELL couldnt even imagine this level of propagandistic control over so many people. And they were broken up. I could blather on, but this is an untenable situation.


  propagandistic control
That's not actually a thing.

AT&T was a government-created monopoly that not only directly prevented (not indirectly, via hand-wavy causal chains) the emergence of competitors to its monopoly, but even directly suppressed the emergence of competitive collateral markets that relied on telephony services.

Monopolies aren't bad in themselves. Both common sense and the law require that monopolies be broken up only when abused. And you need to be concrete about the market and the abuses. Every business enjoys some kind of monopoly in some dimensions because our economy is finite, not to mention time and geography. If you went around destroying monopolies you'd be breaking up companies left and right all day long.

Of all things to care about, supposed monopolies in social media are the last the thing people should care about. The rise of Breitbart is all the proof you need that there's nothing to "fix". You don't breakup companies because you want a particular outcome or merely dislike the status quo; it's foolhardy to think you can engineer a particular outcome, and foolhardy to even want to try.

The closest parallel to historic breakups would be Google, given it's dominance of online advertising. But while they throw their weight around, AFAIU there's hasn't been any substantial abuse (or even credible accusations of substantial abuse). Probably because while dominant, they don't actually hold a monopoly or participate in an oligopoly that has the capability to close-off access to the market to newcomers.

People seem to care about supposed social media monopolies because of the bike shed effect. Everybody uses Facebook and Twitter (except some of us), and so everybody has an opinion and believes they're capable of making an informed judgment call. That's the worse way to drive policy.


Well said. I think it's easy for people to think, "it should be this way, so let's do something" without realizing that the Law of Unintended Consequences is almost always a participant in outcomes. Human behavior is a wildly complex thing to predict and incentivize. Often times the counter-intuitive approach of "let it work out" is actually the optimal approach.


I agree with you, these companies are stealthily interposing themselves between each of us and the rest of society. purchasing, interpersonal relationships, families, sex and dating, eating.

we have chosen to be faust for no reason. gretchen is a $20 coupon for a marriot suite restrictions apply.

but I'm afraid that if you deny people that choice, however stupid a choice it might be, its just as dehumanizing as being manipulated by Facebook.


OT: You could comment more often. We don't bite, usually.


It's amazing how the political elite are realizing they don't have complete control of every step of the process. It's almost as if they are reacting out of fear of these tech companies and their ability to influence law making in the same way that other more traditional industries have been for decades.


Fear of AI could be a factor too, though the article doesn't talk about it. Politicians must be seeing the AI hype and paranoia in the media and wondering how they can ensure they stay on top of it and use to their ends.


If such fears are a factor, perhaps politicians should consider that even if they succeed domestically that won't stop geopolitical rivals such as China from pursuing AI, backed by state funding and with no limits on data collection.


Yeah, Silicon Valley overstepped. It'd due for some reigning-in.




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