Its a good thing that many countries are realizing that US based monopolies are not good for their economy. Take China for example, their companies are well off like AliPay, WeChat, Tencent. Its because they are protected from monopolies who have the firepower to kill them. Keeping the monopolies in check will spur the growth & innovation in developing countries.
Russia has a similar government-backed Internet services ecosystem going on, although they dropped the ball on blogging and wound up having to do a complex operation to buy Livejournal (where all the Russians were) and move the servers to Russian territory.
I think different companies, although they may be monopolies in their own right, spread out over multiple countries is still preferable to a global monopoly. Not just because of data collection, also regarding keeping tech know-how locally for example.
I can't imagine anyone thinks such a situation is in the best interest of the user.
1) It's a voluntary transaction and is not compulsory
2) They precisely buy because it would be harder to build it from scratch. Which refutes your claim that Google or FB can't be competed against.
In any voluntary transaction, both parties gain out of it. People who are not parties to that transaction have no business in it.
> 1) Yes, it's voluntary, but the interests of the consumers aren't necessarily taken into account. Only the shareholders of the companies being bought stand to gain from the transactions
Yes of course, because they are trading their private property. When you buy vegetables from the supermarket, can someone complain that you're not taking into consideration other people's interests, namely there's less food for everyone else. And also that only you and the supermarket stand to gain out of the transaction. This is an reductio ad absurdum of your statement
> 2) Google/Fb gives these companies an offer at a moment when it still makes sense to buy them (i.e. when they can both win from the acquisition). If the company being bought decides to decline, Google or FB or whatever monolith has ways of destroying them: - By buying their competitor instead of them, and heavily investing in them - By just building the feature themselves, and potentially fighting a very expensive legal battle
Okay, I see your logical problem, you want good to be done in one instance, but you IMHO fail to see the consequences if you logically apply that concept to its conclusion.
Again, voluntary transaction. If the startup refuses, it's voluntary. If FB or Google goes and invests elsewhere it's their money, their business. Who are we to tell them what to do with their money. Would you be okay if they told what to do with money you've earned? All things you've mentioned are coercive i.e. they are all based on things people have agreed on in written documents. Concretely, if they (Google/FB) buy a competitor, it's their money, their business. If they build the feature themselves, their money, they don't owe this startup their money, they refused when offered anyway. If they fight a legal battle, it's still legitimate because both parties (Google/FB and startup) have all agreed to work with local laws (US or otherwise).
For example, give us at least one example of a service that would directly cause Facebook to think twice before making it's app constantly harass me to update my page, minimising the videos I am trying to close, and automatically sending me push notifications for someone starting a live video?
Everybody is not there, even on Facebook, there is no such social network yet.
> and which makes Facebook fear the loss of it's users.
Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook has paid premium prices for the former two and gave a pretty high offer for snapchat. They wouldn't do that if they're concerned ( of course, neither you nor I can confirm their emotional state, but we can derive useful conclusions from their actions)
> For example, give us at least one example of a service that would directly cause Facebook to think twice before making it's app constantly harass me to update my page, minimising the videos I am trying to close, and automatically sending me push notifications for someone starting a live video?
Have you stopped using facebook? Then why should they care? They will care IMO, but the point is by continuing to use facebook, you've shown that you weigh the benefits of facebook to be more than the costs/annoyances. So, you're happy enough as far as they're concerned, they might try and make you happier but that's left to them :)
Edit: Whoops! I hit submit before completing my last sentence
More importantly, the functionality of Facebook can be replicated by anyone with more-then a few years of experience in software.
So you're saying that Facebook does have proper competition? No, they don't. They were lucky enough to be at the exact place at the exact time to build the sturdy population of users. And now most of the users are paying for their luck.
Why not? Being the first one in and the best at what you do is still competition. Most industries don't get disrupted by a competitor until there is truly some valuable innovation that happened. (ie look at Yahoo and MySpace)
Whenever the government starts to interfere it sounds really good on paper, but it typically is not in the best interest of the user. Existing corporations often use laws to then further eliminate incoming competition.
To use your driving example it would be like saying that to use a car everyone has to drive on the same side of the road or accept identical pollution control standards. That's obviously not the case. Cars are adapted--sometimes quite substantially--to local jurisdictions.
You could debate how far the US could go with it before there are serious repercussions. However, several of the big auto-making countries go a great distance out of their way to shield their own domestic auto industries from foreign competition at home, including Germany and Japan. The US should behave exactly as they do and for exactly the same reasons.
What has the US gained by allowing foreign auto competitors such equal footing? Japan and Germany are widely regarded as having the two best auto industries overall, it has clearly has worked out just fine for them (insert the replies about correlation/causation). Why is the US held to a very different standard than China, Germany and Japan (3 of the 4 largest economies) when it comes to trade? That should and will end by necessity, whether it's a Trump or a Bernie Sanders that does it. It's a cultural wave that can't be stopped.
The US should use every lever at its disposal to compete, including strategically manipulating the global reserve currency (eg it's crazy that the US isn't running a $2 trillion, ten year, infrastructure QE program; the USD as the global reserve currency is unlikely to last more than a few more decades, we should leverage it while we have it to increase US competitiveness).
The fact that the Chinese sanctioned companies become monopolies themselves is even more proof that it's about nationalism than protection from monopolies.
Well if I was Chinese I guess I'd hope my government was making some effort to protect the national interest at least.
Of course they are developing their own monopolies and have some pretty terrifying social control programs in the works. That can be criticised in its own right and hopefully it will be. But to try and make the case that FB is a benevolent saviour of the Chinese citizenry from their evil government is nonsense and whataboutery. If you must believe in the US as some kind of global beacon of free speech and democracy, then at least don't think that just being the lesser of two evils is a really great way to promote this.
The hard problem is that any proprietary social platform has to have a mass of people using it to be particularly useful, and any social platform that big is collecting data that makes it a huge security risk and economic factor at the national level. The only solutions I can think of are to have social networks under national control or to promote interoperability between smaller networks and partition data collection to an acceptable level for national security purposes.
> and also acting as the world's biggest innovation VC
> Other countries have been asleep at the wheel
Calm down with the CN propaganda.
Perhaps this is out of context, but I wonder if Trump is a symptom of this protectionism or if they're unrelated
I was going to add ".. unless you're American", but I'm not even sure if such a concentration of power would be a net neutral (or good) in the long run, for any citizen, US or elsewhere.
I personally blame this as a big part of why our country's government is in its current state. With unrestricted free access to Facebook, it was exceedingly easy to spread memes/fake news about how "bad-ass and cool" Duterte is and how hilariously incompetent the opposition is. And it's still going on today. It is now used as a propaganda machine, up to the point where one particular Facebook page owner spreading memes/fake news now holds an official position in the government, thanks to their 'services'.
Now Google, with its Indian origin CEO is trying his hand by providing free wifi at Indian Railway stations.
Everyone now wants a chunk of a growing economy like India to convert its people to "products".
Indian authorities should be smart enough to differentiate between the good & bad things that giants like Facebook & Google can do to the country, its economy and nowadays even its stability.
The Internet's feudal structure comes from specialization due to outsourcing security, often from smaller to larger companies. Cloudflare is largely in the business of providing protection to smaller companies. Or take the whole cloud thing; this makes security much easier than running your own data center.
Even at the individual level, we don't want to run our own spam filters and moderate our own comments. We want a trusted source of security updates. Someone needs to keep the bad guys out so we give others the power to do it for us.
What does this mean? How you envision this happening?
Of course, this is a false distinction. The digital and the physical world are actually one and the same, viewed through different lenses. But eventually the network and services and content and algorithms of the digital realm will become central. Perhaps this is how it happens:
Facebook, Google, Amazon are proto-states. They are centers of power which dispense favors upon their "citizens" (users) in exchange for power over the users (data). At present they're primarily constrained by an environment of competition fostered by government. But over time they assume more and more functions of government. You can already "vote" in these corporations (as shareholders).
Suppose the government that currently constrains the corporations weakens, fractures. The U.S. splits up, for example. Then the boundary-crossing multinational corporations become the unified power centers. Now they are constrained only by each other. A great power struggle occurs in which the digital powers strive for dominance. There is a physical element---cutting fiber connections, etc.---but mostly it's about algorithms. Eventually the virtual space is partitioned into states just as the physical world.
In time, the "users" in each virtual state become discontented. They revolt and demand greater say in their governance. They live in virtual realities governed by the virtual states. Thus they have a great incentive to gain power over the governments. Thus democracy arises.
Anyway, this is all really far-out, weird thinking, and maybe it doesn't hold up. But something like this seems roughly plausible.
They're still disgusting moves. India prohibited Internet.org, but Facebook is actively pushing it in many other countries (Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Guatemala, etc.).
As someone who was too poor to afford internet for years, I would have adored such a deal. It would have greatly improved my standard of living, and to me I feel like the objections come from people with no understanding of what poverty is like. It really feels like looking a gift horse in the mouth; I feel like the benefits of free internet for the poor far outweigh the self righteousness.
I'd really like to know why it's better for me to have no internet at all than some but not all?
Because under the pretext of giving you internet, Facebook is creating shadow profiles about me.
Now I would like to know why it is more important for you to get stuff for free than my privacy?
All you need to do, of course, is get Facebook to promise me that it won't create these shadow profiles about non-users. At that moment, you should (hopefully) have a little bit of an "aha!".
If that free internet were actually provided by the government, and was funded by taxation, "we the people" (however comical that notion is these days), actually have the legislative and ultimately the executive power to stop our government from doing shady things with that internet. What is your recourse if the same thing is decided behind closed doors inside a corporation? I will answer that question for you based on how these things usually turn out: whatever the corporation eventually agrees to will turn out to be better for them, because it will be worse for their competitors. Think: audit of all data collected, having onerous laws around financial reporting, having to agree with a million different compliance issues etc. At the end of it all, someone will look back on it and wring their hands: "If only the people had been a little wiser and stopped the giant corporation from having their way, things could have been so much better".
Think, for a moment, about the farcical fines these megaliths are facing. If you were an executive at any of these companies, would you actually lose sleep over them? If the fines are not acting as a deterrent, why even bother with the fine? Again, where is your recourse?
I am all for public shaming of FB employees, because if they were to stop counting their bank balance and just look themselves in the mirror for a little bit, they know they have completely earned this shaming.
They can browse Accuweather, BBC News, Bing, Wikipedia and other localised websites all day long if they please. For free.
For example, lets suppose that you visit your favourite digital newspaper. After reading an article or a howto you see a "like this article?/was this howto useful?/Send us your feedback" button. It seems (I can't confirm it so I could be wrong, just hear it on the TV news yesterday), that facebook was saving silently all this info about preferences from lots of people that aren't neither facebook users nor visiting facebook forums and webs
If we thing about it, wouldn't be much different than to put a creepy guy near the door of a supermarket recording all that you buy to sell all this info later.
Here is a list of possible ways Facebook can triangulate information about people who are not active on Facebook even without controlling access to the internet:
1. User telemetry based on your browser when you visit any page which has a Like button
2. If you have ever used WhatsApp and deleted it, seeing who has your phone number on their contacts list
3. If you have ever used WhatsApp and deleted it, seeing who has your phone number on their WhatsApp app
4. Being tagged in a photo (that your friend captured) based on a Facebook account which you don't even actively use
5. Seeing where they tagged you if that info is easy to infer from the image's metadata
6. Seeing where they tagged you based on the check in location
7. Seeing where they tagged you, based on the comment they might leave on the photo
8. Seeing who has your email address on their contacts list and associated a name to it
9. Inferring your name from someone's contacts and matching it to the phone number so that
10. They can check if a second person has the same phone number or same email address under the same name or a small variant.
11. Learning about life events which concern you based on other people's WhatsApp conversations about you since they usually mention you by name
12. Text mining of WhatsApp conversations for a list of names which they don't yet have in their database and possibly inferring the relationship type
Now they basically have a "shadow profile" of a (person's name + phone number) even if that person has never gone near Facebook their entire lives. If there are additional details about you in someone else's contacts, imagine how much easier you just made it for Facebook.
12. If you agree that the shadow profile is fairly easy to create once the apps controlled by FB (FB, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram) reach a sufficient critical mass, you probably understand that they will collect every piece of information they can and associate it with the right shadow profile.
My guess is, I don't cover a fraction of the techniques they use already (simply because at a certain scale, I bet they identified even bigger patterns that we cannot even see), and the list is already too uncomfortable for someone who doesn't want to have anything to do with Facebook. As a programmer, you probably know that most of these are trivial to implement. Your problem will be "too much noise", definitely not "too little signal". No worries. An eager horde of people are everyday helping Facebook to cut down the noise and increase the signal to noise ratio of their shadow profiles.
Now, imagine what happens when Facebook becomes the primary means to access the internet for an entire region.
I also grew with no internet for entirety of my childhood, but i never wished for free internet that could let me browse some social networking site.
1) Govt will have to raise more taxes (this is a curb on freedom). Why should someone else pay for your services?
2) Bigger Govt will have political motives which will murk up the services it provides. Said another way, FB loses business if consumers don't like it, but a govt goes on because it's funded by tax dollars not customer revenue
Why would you not fund another person's internet from your salary? Are profits that much different from salaries?
> I don't understand people's objections
* Massive and lingering anti-colonial sentiment
* Disregard for those lower down on the social totem pole
Dressed up in fancy sounding intellectual privacy concerns.
It's why we should criticize the actions of any power (whether the Us, China, the EU, Russia) to control citizens and eliminate smaller cultures. Maybe melodramatic but it's exciting. The growth of Chinese networks is interesting, wonder how they would develop under a democratic government? Further innovation or do they only exist because of that environment as you suggest?
While friends and coworkers who work(ed) at facebook have had a much better time, with far more perks, interesting projects work not thrown away and a much better work life balance.
I think there are already more than two dozen smaller niche social networks.
Sources for McDonlads replacing all other restaurants. Maybe you haven't traveled as much but for me I always check out local McDonalds, hardly actually eating there. One of the reason they have been successful is adopting local tastes. Costa Rica has Gallo Pinto in addition to fries as options. Serbia has this crazy Crispy meat thing.
With McDonalds I know what the product is and I pay for it. With Facebook it's a little less clear what they are doing. One certainty with FB, we are the product.
With FB they are a little nefarious, especially the Free Basics thing. Google is doing similar things with Google Fiber and the defunct ballon idea.
If people cared about privacy that much, they should use some other network. People weigh the trade-offs of benefits vs costs and still choose to use FB and Google.
A robotic bunch of Indians influenced by the Net Neutrality hoopla developed and targeted at Monopoly Telecom in the US blindly applied these arguments to the Indian context.
The result - rural India is and will remain unconnected. Telcos have no great new ideas on how to connect rural india (and therefore no great avenues to grow) so they are starting to merge. Soon we will have 1-2 giant Telcos monopolies. The clueless herd driven by social media reinforcement and validation strikes again.
Or the mathematics won't pan out, and the company dies. And the government will probably step in to fill the breach. And it will probably do an awful job (remember the mathematics never panned out?)
Both of these are good outcomes. Compare this to handing over the control of such vital infrastructure to a megacorp which has a consistent track record of violating the trust of everyone - the users (random privacy rule changes), the advertisers (fake video views), those they acquire (e.g. the comedy show called WhatsApp ads), the jurisdictions they operate in (arbitrary censorship of content to make sure they kowtow to the public flavor du jour) and last but not least the legal system (claiming that they cannot/will not infer a WhatsApp user profile based on FB user profile knowing the pitifully tiny effect of the punitive damages).
With such a track record, it is a surprise that they even have the temerity to still approach governments around the world to propose FreeBasics.
Why do you get a say on what their preferences are?
I think the socialist vs democracy revolution which happened last century is happening with libertarian vs democratic ideas now. You will not see it until it hits it's peak but it's well underway.
It's like leaving an email in your drafts folder expecting google to read it. Or typing something into Google Search box and expecting that to be legal communication.
More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDHDM7PfyYs
The above video makes good points even though it's been posted by college humor (not particularly meant to get your legal advice from)
I'll leave it to you to figure out how/why. :)
2) Besides, govt bureaucrats don't have the ability now (IMHO) to think rationally and get to the best decision
3) Govt has no business to get in the way of voluntary transactions between two adults
Giant corporation, spending tons of marketing money to make everyone think they're trying to help the world, while behaving like scammers with regards to personal data, and like white collar criminals with regard to tax should be prosecuted to death.
edit: Hmm, now I'm not sure whether you meant a companies metaphorical death? ..I'll leave it here anyhow. :)
I agree with your sentiment, but I consider being alive the greatest privilege.
What has the majority done to build a company that they can take it away? If you say they've made transactions or buy buying the stuff the company makes, then I'd say they got their money's worth and that's it. There was no surplus. Additional rights were not part of that deal. So that can't be an objection.
Let's unpack this.
As an example, I'm working at this company. I do no harm to others, neither does the company, but the society has the right to take this away because majority says so (for whatever reason)? So if you can take away somebody's job and their property, the company, because a majority says so, I don't see how that's ethical.
In any case, companies grant privileges as well as obligations - e.g. limited liability, and they can outlive any of their employees. It's a trade-off; if you don't like it, you van always do business as a person, then noone can take that away - but you also don't get these privileges.
What usually happens to a sufficiently badly behaving company is that the directors can be struck off: https://www.gov.uk/company-director-disqualification
There is also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Manslaughter_and_Cor... , which is used when there is gross negligence relating to safety which gets someone killed.
(I think that may have been influenced by the long campaign after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marchioness_disaster , but I'm not sure)
There are different rules in each country around eligibility to serve in certain company functions, but those will usually only come into play after an individual's conviction for a crime committed in a business context. There are one and a half I've heard of actually happening in the real world: (1) (frequently) you'll be barred from serving as CEO or starting a corporation after a conviction for criminal bankruptcy, and (2) board-level positions for banks have rather strict requirements that would preclude most people with recent convictions for serious crimes.
I've only heard of one case of (2) being relevant, which was the possibility of Deutsche Bank's CEO having to resign after a plea deal for one of their many scandals.
Whether they're actually able to lead to the creation of European Googles and Facebooks is a different question.
Also curious to hear more about these powerful special interests and "rentiers" - any specific examples in mind?
I would think that is because the payouts are much lower. And with lower payouts, options are worth less to attract talent at below market (salary) rates.
Those companies exist because of american entrepreneurship culture, and how corporate laws work in the US. US companies have a lot of freedom to throw money right and left to do things because IT moves fast, and that is just not possible in europe at all.
Also those companies are flagships, but they also are criticized because they are big brother type agents. They centralize data from users of the entire world, and let's be honest, it gives an information advantage for american interests (meaning geopolitics, economics, business).
Those companies are not just products, they also are a big advantage for three letters agencies and business intelligence as well. I'm sure a similar european google or facebook would either be bought by US company or see its employees offered jobs at facebook/google.
Europe is not interested in having such companies, because europe doesn't have investors to throw money like megalomaniacs at anything that pops up. Europe is more traditional.
So yeah, the US is the center of the world, there are geopolitical reasons for it, and they are logical reasons why it is also the case for flagship IT companies.
Yes you can't address that big of a market immediately, but if you're into the whole rapid expansion VC thing, having a big market helps a lot more than having a thousand tiny markets does.
Where I'm from, Slovenia, basically nobody builds startups for the local market anymore. You go straight for global and that shit's hard. Would be nice to have a bigger local market that you can experiment with.
In what respect? Berlin and Munich are 363 miles apart, share standard German, a currency, a time zone, a prime minister, some culture, legal system...
Are you referring to class/wealth?
Munich/Bayern - old school, conservative, traditional.
Berlin - multicultural, hipster.
Kind of like SF vs. Dallas.
That said, they are both very German and it's a little bit of a stretch to say they are different markets.
But Germany and Spain are night and day different and building for EU-wide is very hard.
Not only are there different markets, but Europeans have strong cultures, which include behaviours - they don't jump a 'the new thing' because it's cool.
America is a land of fads and trends, people like new activities, new dynamics - also, people are always in search of identity, and 'brand power' is powerful in the US across the board, just as some American brands have considerable cultural power in China.
There are basically no places in Europe with a critical mass of early adopters for anything in tech, so it's tough. Some spots, yes, and numbers overall, yes. But no hot-zones.
Which would make the US no more homogenous than Germany at least.
> There are basically no places in Europe with a critical mass of early adopters for anything in tech
Finland pretty much invented the mobile business (and the US still lags Europe), and European startup culture is very strong in London, the Nordics, and Berlin, (with Paris and Amsterdam also starting to make a play). Where do you think Skype, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Angry Birds come from?
Neither it, nor even Germany/UK/France have a critical mass of tech people or early adopters.
There isn't very strong 'startup culture' anywhere in Europe, unfortnately.
You listed basically all of the notable startups to come out of Europe in one sentence, which is not good.
I've lived all over Europe as well as the US, I'm aware of the differences.
There just isn't a strong cluster of tech-types, nor strong movements of early adopters for most things in Europe.
I will give you Skype though - Skype was a huge hit in Europe in 2004, especially because calling/long-distance rates were so crazy expensive - that's actually a pretty good example of a Euro-based startup hitting the local market well - i.e. 'in their pocket books' where it matters, in a way that kind of transcends national boundaries.
A startup that conquers fast/easy/cheap currency exchange, I think will likely do well in Europe as well.
But it's hard to build early adopters there, unless you hit it right.
Yes Finland is smaller than Los Angeles and yet pretty much invented mobile - that would seem to invalidate your point about scale. Scale removes agility and ability to innovate, it's the sole competitive edge of startups. It's also why the US mobile market still lags blocs made up of smaller markets like Asia and Europe.
> There isn't very strong 'startup culture' anywhere in Europe, unfortnately.
The Nordics would disagree and has a track record to back that up.
> You listed basically all of the notable startups to come out of Europe in one sentence, which is not good.
Hardly, I just pulled a small handful out of thin air. Here's a bunch more - https://medium.com/startup-grind/the-100-startups-which-rais..., http://www.wired.co.uk/article/europes-100-hottest-startups-...
> There just isn't a strong cluster of tech-types, nor strong movements of early adopters for most things in Europe.
I've visited a lot of the US via tech conferences (largely in college towns and hi-tech hubs). The US has no claim whatsoever here. I'd say it was possibly marginally behind Europe and way behind Asia, where I visit frequently for business. I'm including LA, SF, NY in this assessment which are starting to look like provincial towns compared to the likes of Shanghai or London. The US is notably more advanced at marketing, which is what you are seeing here; if the US had anything to compare to Shenzhen for example we would be hearing nothing except stories about US leading the world in cutting edge HW innovation from hacker-makers. I was going to add that the US was very much ahead in tech financing (and it is compared to Europe, which makes US tech itself look comparatively weak if anything) - but I think the Chinese gov is considerably outspending SV now.
^ This is what Revolut is doing right now in europe
What the? People get in line to buy iPhones here too, Europeans are not all smart. Europe is not just the CCC and The Fabulous Destiny of Amèlie, people are addicted to Facebook about the same as Americans.
That's a claim frequently made in regards to EU antitrust actions, and it is easily disproven by the data that shows US companies being underrepresented in terms of levied fines compared to their revenues in the EU.
Any European competitor would be subject to the same sort of fine if they behaved similarly.
How would that be any better?
And you're back on square one. Instead I suggest vote with your dollar, choose a different service that better suits your needs than making more govt regulations (and infringing on everyone's rights)
Kinda like the Chinese are doing by having Chinese clones of all the big UIS technology companies.
No, it really does help large entities wield their power even more.
The billions of dollars that the big cos have stockpiled ensures they can suck up the talent, attack new markets and keep competitors at bay.
It's not the biggest thing, but it's a thing.
And Facebook was barely making any money while it was becoming the dominant social network.
A) They have massive operations internationally and hire a lot.
B) Did you witness Microsofts dismantling of Nokia? That was a takedown of an entire ecosystem and huge gift to Apple and Google/Android as well. Paid for by cheap taxes overseas.
For every one person working at Nokia, there was another, in a company, somewhere else selling to them, buying from the, distributing for them.
The same thing happened at BlackBerry.
I'm not talking about 'apps' - I'm talking about a 'business' eco-system and value chain.
Our economies are very dependent. That alone would be catastrophic. It would make Russia, China etc more confident in taking more territories and putting more demands on EU. Handle refugees from there would put a lot of strain on us too. If not-nice-people would won, and civil wars tend to be won by wannabe dictators, we would be even in bigger trouble.
I don't know what you think the precursors to a civil war looks like, but between ignored Occupy protesters' issues, the Tea Party being co-opted into an anti-abortion group with their original complaints being ignored, and the BLM movement that grew out of Ferguson feeling ignored by those in power, the U.S.A. isn't exactly super stable at the moment. There is a huge group of people who feel (rightly or otherwise) that they have genuine grievances and are willing to get arrested for it.
What spark would be required to light this flame?
Mass media just magnifies the angry 1%, creating mountains out of molehills.
eg the Bay Area has maybe 100 BLM/Antifa instigators total. Every police incident involves that same small group of people, but the media hypes up the number of incidents.
Some group postures to look significant, the media obliges to get ad revenue, a handful of people get caught up in the hysteria, and everyone else... yawns. A homeless man delaying BART by 20 minutes causes more wide-spread civil unrest.
People are upset, yes, and America desperately needs a functional Congress... but we're not even close to
> There is a huge group of people who feel (rightly or otherwise) that they have genuine grievances and are willing to get arrested for it
Yes, but how many who agree with them, but have day jobs they need to go to? I can assure you that my childhood friend was not joining the BLM protests, but he was still calling for Nazis to try to march in Oakland.
* "Racists march in racist territory to intimidate people elsewhere"
* "People elsewhere goad the weak cowardly racists"
Uh, obviously? I'd be surprised if that didn't happen.
Racism is not popular. Oakland isn't alone, I have heard the same sentiment from New Yorkers, Seattleites, Houston; urban areas do not tolerate that kind of anti-American discrimination.
Relevant blog: https://predictiveheuristics.com/
"A study commissioned by Spanish publishers has found that a new intellectual property law passed in Spain last year, which charges news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories, has done substantial damage to the Spanish news industry."
Google tax was just a ploy from our crony capitalist government to divert money towards publishers aligned with them (i.e. most major news outlets). Actually, the publishers are the ones who promoted it (lobbying for it long before it was even a law proposal) and the government just followed its masters (the two large media groups who own mostly everything).
> In response, Google announced that they would be shutting down the Spanish version of their Google News service.
> The AEDE reacted by lobbying the Spanish government to force Google to keep it running.
It would be funny if it wasn't so worrying.
Fortunately this just looks like public workers from AEPD (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Spanish Agency of Data Protection) doing their jobs.
AEPD is one of the few public organizations I'm glad we have.
I am not taking this story as an example. Most of southern Europe countries are far from being capitalist.
The question is whether they did something illegal that hurt their industry.
 I know, different legal system but whatever their equivalent is
By the time you read this comment, Facebook (presumably) already made enough profit to pay this fine.
I'm considering ordering a few hundred stickers with this phrase on them.
It does however set a precedent, and if someone could take further evidence of this to court, on a much larger scale, those fines would stack up very quickly (as they ought to).
EU countries should start fining and taxing these US tech companies heavily to force them out of business in the EU and leave room for local EU competitors. The EU should try to be more like China.
If you start using fines and taxes as instruments of protectionism, you've also become a country no longer ruled by laws, but by the arbitrary whims of whoever is in power.
I already spend too much time online defending (for example) the EU's antitrust policy against accusations of nationalism. If that sort of thing really did happen, it would be the start of a trade war. And nobody is interested in a trade war, except those whose thinking is impaired by some rather anachronistic xenophobia.
Specifically for Facebook: about 40% of my friends are outside the EU. I wouldn't create an account on any social network that they are not on.
I generally agree that "tracking without consent" is invasive, but if a government is going to use it as a way to extort tech companies for fines I would appreciate a little more consistency in who is being called out.
The government itself has very strict rules about what data can be collected and accessed. Unfortunately those rules are sometimes violated (especially in the intelligence space).
At work we have some private data we need to perform our tasks of tens of millions of people. However, that data is regularly pruned and purged on a defined schedule so that we never have more than we strictly need. That's in stark contrast to what e.g. Facebook does which apparently holds onto every bit of data they have ever collected about anyone in case it might be profitable to use at some point.
This is merely a cost of doing business. If Spain was serious, a EUR 1.2 billion fine would have more effect.
Most web users don't know how deep the rabbit-hole goes, so to speak. Heck, even the Battery API  could be used to track users. A better question for Facebook to ask would be, "Do you agree to be tracked, even without your consent; we track your phone's battery, we track every web-page you visit via the Like button, we track ...".
And if FB is banned from Europe (which I highly doubt), the average user won't be able to put a VPN so they'll simply switch to a clone most probably. imho FB is only popular because of the vast userbase and content, not because it is a great platform. We've seen clones appear, get pretty popular and die because they can't sustain a large userbase.
As just one of many arguments against: Such decisions are subject to judicial reviews (i. e. Facebook can sue). Spanish judges are just as independent from the executive as they are in most countries, once they are appointed. What motivation would these judges have to undermine the rule of law (something they studied and have worked in their whole life), when they can't be pressured, nor are they recipients of any part of such fines?
It gets even harder to think of a possible motivation when you realise that any court rulings could be appealed in European courts, completely out of the sphere of influence of the Spanish government.
The EU countries are playing this game since the crisis started in 2008. Spanish politicians just want their share. All of the Ireland-Google issue was exactly the same but bigger: even if they abide the law, politicians tweak a new one just to milk big companies. They just take the money from where it is.
I don't know about conspiracies you talk. This is all happening in day light and applauded by the people.