But Facebook, despite being a monopoly or nearly so, isn't either of these. It makes no sense to speak of breaking Facebook up -- what does that even look like? Each if the Baby Books gets 1/20th of the users?
But it's also not a natural monopoly because what makes Facebook a monopoly is a lack of interoperability. If "Facebook" was a federated system where anyone can set up their own social networking server and still communicate with anyone else on any provider, there would be no monopoly. Some people would use Google and some people would use Microsoft and some people would have their own server in their basement and they could all still talk to each other. Social networking is not a natural monopoly any more than email is -- unless you allow the largest player to refuse interoperability with competitors.
Consider your reliance on google:
- youtube, news, your browser
- possibly your phone OS, contacts, calendar
Google hasn't really done anything too overtly Orwellian (e.g. only promoting news that shows it in a good light). It even hasn't been too restrictive on interoperability (but neither was Microsoft, it just came pre-installed with IE).
So I suppose the question becomes "Should power be broken up preemptively?"
Or, perhaps politicians are rightly scared as they understand that they are losing political control to a technological system (they don't control) that increasingly has the power to shift public opinion (now that TV is dead).
Owning lots of different properties that each have serious competitors is not a monopoly.
The only market you can reasonably claim Google has a monopoly in is search. There are fair arguments that search is a natural monopoly, but trying to regulate search as a utility is a very bad idea, because it's bare naked government regulation of speech.
If you want more search competitors, a better approach might be government grants to improve public domain search algorithms so that it becomes more practical to create viable search competitors.
I would suggest: Search, Addwords, Everything else.
PS: Picture how much a 24/7 worldwide ad on googles home page is worth. Except the only customers for that are Google Properties.
Fortunately enough, regulating indexing wouldn't entail an encroachment on freedom of speech, since an index should be raw and unfiltered. It also wouldn't require the government to take full control of google - they could merely require that google license their index to other searh engines at a reasonable cost.
Ads. This is a problem area for Google. If I worked at Google figuring out an alternate revenue stream would be high on the list of things I'd be proposing for discussion at the very least.
The hard and expensive part is building the index. Treating that as a utility that lots of search engines can hang off (in much the same way DDG hangs off bing) has none of the implications for freedom of speech.
1. Fixing their os in certain ways to hurt end user applications. we said "dos isn't done till lotus doesn't run". This was so customers would be unhappy with lotus, and use excel. People still said this after ms moved on to win 95.
2. Bundling os charging - if a company pays a flat fee per computer shipped, regardless of os, msft would charge them much less per copy. This discouraged companies from shipping other os', because they already 'paid' for windows, it cost them less to ship it.
With IE, they did mange for many years to make web development dependent on ie 5 to properly render. eventually this was broken away, but it was a huge long slog. It discouraged people from using other browsers for sure, but massively discouraged people from using other os' that didn't have a windows browser. like linux, phones, mac
Personally I think if Facebook and google were one company then that would certainly be a company that needed to be broken up, but they're not, Google owns search, it doesn't own Social, Facebook owns Social but it doesn't own search, while neither owns the other there is no monopoly on the dissemination of information.
Well, they already are...
> There's no way to know whether a drop in search traffic is a result of changes in user behavior (i.e. fewer searches for a particular topic) or even the result of changes to the back or front end of a website (Google is reportedly cracking down on interstitial ads). Goldstein concedes at the end of his paper that the "PGSTN of individual domains is not sufficient for conclusions."
What differences exist in user patterns? Do users of conservative news typically browse certain websites, while users of left-leaning media search for articles?
No attempt was made to look at the relationship between website size and google referral traffic. Glancing at the websites listed, most of the conservative sites are much smaller, and so I would expect them to have lower search rankings and referral traffic as a result.
It would be cool if this could be presented as an option to actual legislators.
I think you answered your own question: one way is you divide it into N successors with 1/N of the users, and mandate that they integrate with each other (and new players) over an open and interoperable standard. Whatever's done, the key part is the interoperability mandate.
Does this make sense? I'm not sure. But I think it would be easy for a set of programmers to redefine Facebook as more free market than it currently is.
Ma Bell was really two monopolies -- long distance and last mile. Facebook is equivalent to the long distance monopoly, but that's the easy one. Federation and interoperability dissolves it.
The last mile is sticky because building a last mile network is very capital intensive and the cost is predominantly per mile rather than per user, so having two networks that each serve half as many users doubles the cost per user, which is very inefficient and creates a natural monopoly. There is no equivalent to that with Facebook.
...and end-user hardware.
Ma Bell was the Spanish Inquisition sketch of monopolies.
wait. wouldn't that be a workable approach to breaking Facebook up?
Problem solved if they're actually broken up. Exxon (Standard Oil of New Jersey) and Mobil (Standard Oil of New York) merged in 1999. Chevron (Standard Oil of California) did not merge into this behemoth, it's been busy over the past 20 years sucking in companies like Unocal and Texaco, in addition to the other oil companies it sucked up over the past century.
They can be regulated / and forced to fund public research.
when Facebook decides who gets silenced, who's news is treated as true, etc. google shuts people's accounts down for no given reason, changes search traffic and penalizes sites. They should be held accountable for their actions, and justify them. currently there is nothing in place for that.
recognizing them as monopolies and regulating them as such could rectify that.
you are also incorrect about facebook. You can easily break them up, Facebook / WhatsApp / Instagram for example.
The last time there was an unregulated industry with network effects this strong was when railroads had enormous power and used it to force high rates and favor companies they owned. This generated strong political opposition from businesses that needed to ship goods by rail, which was most businesses. Railroads were forced to become common carriers. Something like that might happen in network infrastructure.
Seems like a perfect company to test some new tech collective bargaining attempts. What happens if 80% of googlers organize through an app, stand up and say we are all walking out the door if we don't start acting more socially responsible through A, B, and C initiatives.
So many of them were ready to quit over a coworker with differing opinions, I would think many more would be willing to quit over a company having evil actions. After all, actions > opinions.
Slide to unlock. Granted to Apple, then invalidated.
Rounded rectangles. Granted to Apple. (Freeway signs had this for decades.)
Jiggle mode to move or delete apps. Granted to Apple.
These are just a few of the crazy software UI patents that were granted.
Can anyone think of any more?
The market works best when anti-trust has power. I love the products that some of these companies make. However, I believe that people should always have a realistic choice. The power should be with the individual.
Because of the value of data & information today, I think that anti-trust should be applied horizontally in addition to its traditional vertical use cases. I get that horizontal integration reduces a lot of friction but at this point it feels like I have to pick a team.
Choice is far from a value to prioritize in and of itself. It's a check on power that monopolies and oligopolies have. Choice may be important, but not for its own inherent value necessarily.
When you say, "the power should be with the individual", taken to the extreme, that's an anti-organization view; anti-corporate, anti-government, anti-union, etc. and while there's solid philosophy around it, the fact is that coordination of individuals in the form of organized groups are so much more powerful than individuals. The individual right of association automatically leads to situations of power in the associated groups themselves. In other words, individual power is fundamentally unstable in social contexts. Tyranny of structurelessness etc.
What we're really dealing with in our market today is a supply-side power imbalance. The supply side is all organized into companies and trade groups, and they have tons of power. The demand side is divided into individuals in many cases, and that in itself makes them dramatically less powerful.
What we need is more demand side power in the balance. If there's any way to get that without totally overwhelming the important individual freedoms, it's worth doing.
There's no way to get what the supply side offers at all if we broke the supply side all the way down to individuals and blocked them from even forming companies at all. And the only way to actually balance company power on the demand side is to have some associations / teams etc. so that the demand side is similarly organized. Sure, that brings up potential risks to individual autonomy, but we just have to constantly adapt to keep a balance.
Then you look at what happens when the private sector gets a hold of them, be it Enron in energy or for-profit banks in the money management business (which is already a partial utility thanks to central banking), and it calls into question the libertarian dogma that everything should be privatized.
Either way, are we calling Google, Facebook, & Amazon natural monopolies now?
Fwiw I'm uncomfortable with the recent push for anti-trust enforcement against the Big 5. I was around for the OS and Browser wars and thus far none of them have been as deliberately abusive as Microsoft was, who in my opinion at the time soundly deserved the threat of being split up.
Interestingly though, it led to a strong open source ecosystem of alternatives, and now Linux dominates most of the server world, which is probably a far better outcome than anything the anti-trust suit could have achieved. Similar outcomes may happen to the Big 5, like the emerging decentralized/federated social networks (Mastadon) and secure email like ProtonMail and Tutanota, and privacy-respecting search like DuckDuckGo. I think it's best to hold off on any kind of legal action a while longer until we can see what happens in that respect.
Rational might be the word you're after. AT&T and Comcast are acting as corporations to maximize shareholder returns.
But it is true that money often corrupts. A completely unregulated market leads to negative externalities that the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for. A completely regulated market stifles innovation and kills growth.
I'm not sure if regulation is a viable option at this point, mainly due to the sheer incompetence of regulatory bodies and government bureaucrats.
They're actions are rational, only if they succeed. If there's enough political reaction that results in the breaking up of these monopolies, it may not be so rational afterall.
I read that Tim is also responsible for coining the term "net neutrality".
This is bizarre to me. Especially considering that ISP are not considered "public utilities" and net neutrality might be revoked.
Depends on who you ask. The people who think parts of big tech should be treated as public utilities typically also believe ISPs should already be considered utility companies, and typically support net neutrality (or whatever they believe net neutrality to be, anyway).
One of the things I find interesting are the 'one boxes'. These are insets in the search page which has extracted what Google thinks is the answer you are looking for, from some other web page. If they guess right, they get a non-obvious benefit, you don't click over to a non-google page that has ads on it. If those ads are from some other supplier, its a big win for Google, if they are from Google they now have to share revenue with the site owner. We know that 'facts' are not copyrightable and "fair use" doctrine allows for some limited copying to identify context, which means it is unclear if you can even stop them from doing this to your pages.
Some subtle, some not so subtle, but when the choice is to start using your monopoly power to shore up the bottom line, or not. I have never seen a company that hasn't started taking "just a few" shots from that trough. The challenge, and I don't know if it will damage Google or not, is that path can lead to some really egregious behaviors. And big companies, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Proctor and Gamble, who have gone before have always paid a higher price for taking that road than the benefit they received.
What you won't see are any Yelp recommendations or links for the Eiffel tour (you would if you searched 'height eiffel tower yelp' and got https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-tour-eiffel-paris-4 as the first link).
Google has effectively wrapped your 'factoid' type search with pretty much any sort of commercial intent query you might have, around their content, so that if you were a restaurant you would much rather have a lot of Google reviews because you would rank higher in that map link, and if you were a tour operator you would want to bid on the link under the 'keyword'. And if you were a content site you would want to have your links up at the top of the page under likely queries you may not have thought of yet, but once you read them you go "There are two? Really? Lets check that out."
Having operated a web search engine and seeing all the ways the product guys and gals could, and did, "tweak" things I look at that sort of page much more critically than the typical user.
If your search indicates an intent to buy you get flooded with ads.
They'll need to get more senators on their side than just the 4 from CA and WA.
For example, I'm completely convinced that if Facebook is declared a Monopoly and taken apart it would only pave the way for a successor to become the new "Facebook Replacement"/"Monopoly." I think the same thing is roughly true for parts of Amazon. And of Google.
What might happen if there's a strong bipartisan movement to regulate the new tech world?
A short list of regulations that might happen:
Mandatory compliance with technical interoperability standards ie no proprietary facebook messenger or whatsapp protocols.
Mandatory public 3rd party post incident reviews for security incidents or major bugs/outages on the template of the NTSB.
Strictly enforced free-market regulation prohibiting exclusivity deals between tech companies and retail/content/service providers.
A complete ban on default-on cross site tracking.(likely coming to Europe as a part of the cookie directory review the industry asked for)
Heavy restrictions on what you can do in terms of using/selling the results of analysing user data.(partially already in effect across Europe)
Sure they might play the game like everybody else do, and just bribe the congress people. That would be stupid, but they can outspend most companies because they make so much money.
The only thing that could get the wind blowing the other way would be some kind of large scale scandal at Google/Facebook etc. that would make big headlines. But probably Congress would make some noise and nothing substantial in terms of policy or law would come of it.
And while we congratulate ourselves for finally coming to our senses about "the SV", I offer the following counterpoint -- when people who normally disagree with each other are in sync on a topic, it's either an issue of mortal danger or a tawdry bit of extortion.
And by my reckoning, the Four Horsemen aren't The Axis Powers or even The Axis of Evil. Which leaves extortion.
To steal a meme: Gee, nice company you have there. It would be a shame if someone regulated it. BTW, I'm up for re-election.
Competitive products are available at the same or lower costs and widely so.
Now replace "railroad" with "search engine" and "soap company" with "reviews" and you have the same situation with Google vs. Yelp or Google Shopping or Google Maps.
Essentially you're just stifling competition at this point and preventing the market from choosing products.
Can you point to a public statement where he states that the 'whites' need to be favored and that the rest need to take a back-seat?
Please watch the 60 Minutes interview and you can see and hear for yourself that he argues clearly in favor of the working man, which definitely includes minorities.
He clearly states that the black community has been hit hard by the illegal immigration, and being outbid in the job market.
In regards to your point about arguing in favor of the working man, here's an excerpt from a response about how to counter ethnic/racial tribalism:
"I think in Spain it’s something like 50 or 60% of the youth under 30 are underemployed. And that means the decade of their twenties, which is where you have to learn a skill, where you have to learn a craft, where you really start to get comfortable in your profession, you’re taking that away from the entire generation. That’s only going to fuel tribalism, that’s only going to fuel [unintelligible]… That’s why to me, it’s incumbent upon freedom-loving people to make sure that we sort out these governments and make sure that we sort out particularly this crony capitalism so that the benefits become more of this entrepreneurial spirit and that can flow back to working-class and middle-class people. Because if not, we’re going to pay a huge price for this. You can already start to see it."
Now it looks like it becomes an issue if you ask somebody to argue his/her statement. And if you praise somebody for providing a specific piece of info, at the expense of being down-voted, even that becomes controversial. What school of thought are you guys applying to this?
And how-come you show up to moderate this one week after everything has settled? This is an ideological witch hunt on your side.
And where can I verify your mod status? Who is to say that you are not simply pretending to be a mod and acting to stifle rational dialogue?!
I have a suggestion: to make things truly arbitrary, please ban me, and then I will be sure that you are a moderator.
For such a sad joke, feel free to ban this account. I am not interested in playing in your box.
Anyway, funny story: after he was appointed Chief Strategist I wrote up a little thing explaining Bannon's white nationalism, with links to his writings, public statements, endless radio show, and quotes from people close to him from across the political spectrum, including not just liberals but libertarians, modern right-wingers, and traditional conservatives, who clearly understand that he's just another authoritarian who wants a racially and religiously homogeneous society. Because I've been paying attention to Bannon for years, ever since I decided to go and see what white nationalists actually thought, and got a bunch of alt accounts to hang out on fascist sites where they love what the guy's doing. Worked on it, edited it, expanded it out to a pointless book length, tried to make it as solid as I could. Shared it as wide as I could, tried as hard as I could to bring it up when someone (rightfully!) pointed out that most people criticizing Bannon just make fun of him for looking like a drunk or make casual and irrelevant Nazi references.
Didn't do a damn thing. Which I should have known, I mean I'd basically been aware that despite the claims of wannabe logicians, any high school debater knows that arguments don't really change minds, but hey, I was scared. But that sort of thing is never going to reach the right people, and it's never going to change the minds of people who ask for it.
Sorry for taking this all out on you, it's not really relevant, but like... christ. You think this is what being intellectually serious looks like. There's so many people out there vaguely mimicking logical processes like a cargo cult, but only ever asking to be spoon fed information. You're seriously going around asking people you disagree with for lists of sources, like you're trying to get a trophy and not actually understand the world. If you want a path to knowledge, challenge yourself, do your own research, try to find things that would disrupt your worldview, and stop taking shortcuts by trying to make other people make arguments for you to agree or disagree with. Actually live with the people you disagree with, rather than just studying them to recite lists of fallacies. The only people who will give you a worldview over the internet are propagandists.
Again, not really about you, exaggeration and all that, and this probably isn't the right place to vent, either. You're probably a fine person most of the time, but just please know that when people make bad arguments at you, it's not because we're stupid or wrong, it's because we've seen enough people doing your same song-and-dance to know that no amount of argument will convince you, time is limited and frustration is real, and there's a lot of work to be done in the real world.
Of course it's your choice who and what you decide to debate. Trying to convince the internet you're right, however, will be an exercise in futility.
Yeah you can accept that others have just as much of a monopoly on truth as you think you do, but if you're not willing to walk over the proverbial coals to assert your experiences & what you believe to be true, then you've lost some agency over your own worldview.
Although I will agree that people need to see topics from more perspectives than they seem to, traditionally--I don't agree with letting down your guard without reason to. There are too many people and groups out in the world actively trying to get a free lunch by pulling the wool over your eyes.
Sometimes what seems like the most direct path (discussing the issue itself) is actually the longest path around.
In the same vein, with how much Trump has done / scandals etc, few to none have documented everything in one place. Those that try to capture everything get tired after at most a month, if not sooner, and I worry that we won't have a good comprehensive list of events that occurred in this era.
My personal impression is that you might be seeing things a bit darker than they actually are.
I am absolutely sure that in real life we would manage to work together on a professional level. No need to fall for the media hype machine. With a deep breath, things are not as bad as they are made to be.
I would love to take a look over your article and digest it.
Other than that, one quick question:
Did you spot any inconsistencies between the Bannon that was interviewed on 60 Mins and the Bannon at the time you wrote your article?
Where did he flip in his positions now and then?
My advice now if you're curious about what Bannon thinks or what Breitbart really does is: don't start from a position that they're bad, don't believe the media frenzy, don't follow the line of reasoning of people you agree with, definitely don't assume they're neo-Nazis or white nationalists, don't go out looking for arguments one way or another. You just have to start at neutral and spend a ton of time reading Breitbart, listening to his radio episodes, reading what former Breitbart workers have to say, getting savvy to how the community thinks, and, if you can stomach it, using the anonymity of the internet to ingratiate yourself to online fascists until they open up. That's how I did it, anyway. Not sure I can actually recommend it.
Basically, I think I really would rather people did their own research and came to conclusions I might disagree with than listen to my arguments and evidence. Which is the sort of frustrating thing to say that leads people who want to be told what to think to conclude that everything I believe is bullshit. Oh well. Back to taking a break from writing/getting mad on the internet.
I think you've spent too much time hanging around thick-headed individuals. HN is not filled with the self-serving types of people you're describing. Commenters are eagerly awaiting support for your point of view, and you're practically spitting in their eye. No one will care what you have to say after that.
It's okay to not agree with an approach or argument you used before, or even the why of the existence of either. But it doesn't mean all of the content is useless.
Now go do your own research and see if I'm wrong. Its not like my arguments will change your mind anyway.
Not trying to trivialize your comment, but you should be able to see how your position is not a productive one.
If you still have your book, now would be an obvious best time to share it.
Care to put some more meat on this statement? Do you think Bannon forced Charlie Rose to interview him? Or that he forced which questions to be asked?
Out of curiosity, which points from Bannon's recent 60 Minutes sit-down, in your view, where inappropriate?
Otherwise, please allow me to say that your statement is too broad and lacks enough specificity to make sense.
Those two really went at it. Whenever the topic turned to the media Charlie's (conscious or otherwise) bias was so glaringly obvious.
It was like watching a debate between the president of a police union and and a the director of an inner city drug treatment program or an oil company exec and a university professor who researches climate change. Neither side could comprehend that their biases reinforced by the people they surround themselves with throughout their careers causes them to greatly over-estimate the validity of their side of the issue.
It was some damn good TV.