Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

They control the pathways of modern speech. It's not like a baker where you can just get your wedding cake somewhere else. If Google doesn't like you they can damn near erase you from public view. If you have an internet business they can ruin it. There is no way to escape their influence.

Because of this, they have a responsibility to uphold people's natural right to expression. In many ways Google now has more control over speech than governments historically have.

If there was a viable competitor this would be different, but there is no such competitor.




>They control the pathways of modern speech.

Not true. Almost all modern speech doesn't take place on Youtube or any Google platform. It's possible to broadcast without Google, publish without Google, disseminate without Google, gather without Google, dissent without Google, make phone calls without Google, chat, email, text, audio, video, everything - literally all forms of speech and expression are possible without Google, both on and off the internet.

>If Google doesn't like you they can damn near erase you from public view.

Also not true. Plenty of people Google "doesn't like" are still in public view. Name one person Google has effectively "disappeared" in this way, and I'll bet they still have a presence elsewhere on the web, still participate in society, still can communicate publicly, be contacted, etc.

>If you have an internet business they can ruin it.

Maybe. But then so could Amazon. So could your ISP. If losing SEO would ruin your business, the problem isn't Google's power, it's your crappy business model.

>There is no way to escape their influence.

Really? Do they control you here? In your home? Do they moderate other sites? Do they control Twitter, Facebook, Hacker News?

It's arbitrarily easy to escape their influence. They control one platform, not the internet, not society, not governments.

>In many ways Google now has more control over speech than governments historically have.

Governments can imprison you, torture you, kill you, run over your friends with tanks, nuke entire cities, fill shallow graves with dissidents, burn down libraries and make it legal. Google has no more control over speech than the governments whose laws they must obey by definition. They don't claim a monopoly on violence or sovereign immunity.

>If there was a viable competitor this would be different, but there is no such competitor.

There are plenty. Google is not the only search engine, and Youtube is not the only video streaming service.

Almost every part of your comment is falsehood, hyperbole and nonsense.


>Plenty of people Google "doesn't like" are still in public view. Name one person Google has effectively "disappeared" in this way, and I'll bet they still have a presence elsewhere on the web, still participate in society, still can communicate publicly, be contacted, etc.

Alex Jones was attacked by Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple in a short span of time and this certainly does bring noticeable harm. Your argument that Google isn't a monopoly so much as a participant in an oligopoly is pointless.

>Maybe. But then so could Amazon. So could your ISP. If losing SEO would ruin your business, the problem isn't Google's power, it's your crappy business model.

It's amusing how people raise this same argument about advertising and how newspapers or other publications can die for all they care, but then newspapers are ''important to Democracy'' and shouldn't need to exist like others do and the other publications are just trying to make end's meet and can't do anything else. Maybe letting large businesses buy or crush everything else is a bad idea?

>Really? Do they control you here?

No.

>In your home?

No.

>Do they moderate other sites?

Yes. Large chunks of the WWW contain Google malware or are at the behest of Cloudflare and that makes avoiding these two difficult, as it's likely at least one place one visits is involved with one or the other. I can't even contact some businesses because of Gmail and its strangulation of the email protocols and with ReCaptcha it becomes increasingly harder to do certain things without giving Google free work.

>Almost every part of your comment is falsehood, hyperbole and nonsense.

You're either misguided or purposefully arguing in bad faith.


"noticeable harm" was not the claim. The claim was that Google alone could, at a whim, "damn near erase you from public view."

Alex Jones has not been anywhere near "erased from public view."

Also by "moderating other sites" I clearly meant moderating content - as in comments, videos, what Google moderates on its own platform. Obviously, they don't do that, and can't. Putting up a captcha or ads isn't the same thing.

>You're either misguided or purposefully arguing in bad faith.

OK, there's the personal attack, so I'm done with this thread. Good day.


> Alex Jones was attacked by Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple in a short span of time and this certainly does bring noticeable harm. Your argument that Google isn't a monopoly so much as a participant in an oligopoly is pointless.

Alex Jones is not a victim of anyone but his own avarice. He defamed victims of horrible violence and refused to stop. He kept ending up in court trying to use defenses like, "I am actually a comedy show and everyone knows it is a joke." It became so absurd that his liability was spilling over onto other broadcast networks who couldn't deny he was deliberately slandering people.

I'm saying: his speech is about as valuable as shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater. So maybe he is not your go-to example. May I recommend instead Dan of "Three Arrows," who has been banned for explaining Nazi history in a factual way with the highest standards of evidence, but ends up being banned or demonetized because of brigading organized by pro-fascist elements lead by reactionary channels failing the same standard like Tim Pool.

But I agree that you could probably make a case YouTube is a monopoly.

> Large chunks of the WWW contain Google malware or are at the behest of Cloudflare and that makes avoiding these two difficult,

Your problem is with site runners who do not consider it malware. You're demanding a product with a price of $0, but such things don't have $0 cost. And of course, you can instantly 0 it out by using tools like noscript. But you can't try to blame Google or CloudFlare for the presence of these tools. That's a conscious decision by website engineers who could offer their content free of charge, but cannot afford to. Ain't capitalism great?

May I recommend doing what I do, which is using NoScript on Firefox? I won't lie, FireFox is worse than Chromium and the plugins are worse, but sometimes we gotta take a hit for our principles.

> ReCaptcha it becomes increasingly harder to do certain things without giving Google free work.

Exactly how many street sign identification tasks do you think Google needs for Waymo or Maps? I'll give you a hint: a kid with tensorflow can solve those captchas using off the shelf parts. The primary value of those captchas is forcing a human to interact with the captcha in a very short span of time, which raises the costs of using cheap contract labor solutions to evade the captcha several orders of magnitude.

> You're either misguided or purposefully arguing in bad faith.

"People who disagree with me are all wrong or liars" isn't a very "good faith" argument either.


> Not true. Almost all modern speech doesn't take place on Youtube or any Google platform. It's possible to broadcast without Google, publish without Google, disseminate without Google, gather without Google, dissent without Google, make phone calls without Google, chat, email, text, audio, video, everything - literally all forms of speech and expression are possible without Google, both on and off the internet.

I actually challenge you to find a credible alternative to Youtube that is a genuine contender and doesn't rely on webtorrent (which would very much DOS the entire internet into tiny fragment networks if it tried to service Youtube level volume).

Who's the alternative? The closest thing is broadcast television, which is under extremely tight government regulation.


>I actually challenge you to find a credible alternative to Youtube that is a genuine contender and doesn't rely on webtorrent (which would very much DOS the entire internet into tiny fragment networks if it tried to service Youtube level volume).

Yeah, see, you're using subjective weasel words like "credible" and "genuine" and assuming that no site operating at anything less than Youtube's scale would be effective - yet plenty of other streaming sites demonstrably do exist and have communities and users.

Even most videos on Youtube don't even have nearly the traffic that would necessitate that scale - "youtube level volume" isn't necessary. Convenient, cheap, reliable, but not necessary.

So... Vimeo? Twitch? Dailymotion? Metacafe? Veoh? Pornhub? The Internet Archive? Whatever they use in Asia? Most social media sites that let you upload videos directly? There seem to be a few here[0].

Until Youtube can stop other streaming sites from existing, it's absurd to say they have any real control outside their own platform. They're popular, but that's it - popularity can wane. They don't control video distribution or streaming the way JP Morgan controlled the railroads, they don't control the infrastructure nor can they enforce monopoly control over the internet, and they certainly do not control "the pathways of modern speech."

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_hosting_services


> Yeah, see, you're using subjective weasel words like "credible" and "genuine" and assuming that no site operating at anything less than Youtube's scale would be effective - yet plenty of other streaming sites demonstrably do exist and have communities and users.

Okay, but they don't do archival at even a fractional scale. It's true other streaming contenders exist. They are all much smaller than youtube.

> So... Vimeo?

Doesn't really compete in the same space anymore. It's a lot more focused on corporate offerings.

> Twitch?

Big site. Run by a massive company that actually has the networking capacity to make a competitor. But doesn't do archival of all content. That makes it a lot, lot harder.

Edit: Don't get me wrong! Twitch is an incredibly impressive piece of work despite its technical flaws. They do things Youtube has failed to do. But the long tail of content distribution they need to deal with is smaller, and that redefines the problem the resolve.

> Dailymotion? Metacafe? Veoh?

All of these aren't really competitors to Youtube, now are they? Dailymotion is more of a hosting service for corporate offerings as I see it. I also think you pay them for hosting, but I'm happy to be corrected about this.

> The Internet Archive?

What?

> Pornhub?

I know a bunch of SWE and SRE there and they're good folks. But uh... well if they want to explain to you how this is misguided I will let them.

> Until Youtube can stop other streaming sites from existing, it's absurd to say they have any real control outside their own platform.

YouTube is bigger than any 3 of your other alternatives combined, and that's ignoring the fact that they're doing broadcast TV now. The only site on your list that has any credibility in the space of user-generated content is Twitch, and they don't do archival unless you're a Partner still, right? It's been awhile since I've run my twitch channel.

> They're popular, but that's it - popularity can wane.

The following is my opinion:

I have become much harder on youtube since joining Google because I learned how absurdly difficult it would be to do what Youtube does. You've gotta be an international mega-corp to compete with what they're doing. While I am enjoying understanding how the internet actually works, I also confess to a certain degree of despair over its reality.

YouTube could grow to meet its demand because of its affiliation with Google. Other sites would need to build a global scale supercomputer with network to match to do what Youtube and Youtube TV does.

Further, the internet itself cannot handle the amount of media streaming users want to do. That's why otherwise noble ideas like PeerTube can't be used to route around this damage. And as we've seen with search and human interaction, the network effects of concentrating media all in one place are just too overwhelming.

Perhaps you feel more optimism about it. If so, I encourage you to try. As it stands, only Amazon's Twitch could possibly pivot into this position and they seem disinclined to do so for now.


Why do they have to be a "genuine contender"? I get that the discoverability of YouTube's platform is desirable to creators, but why is it important at a societal level that creators have access to that?


What will ultimately determine if Youtube is a monopoly or not is if there are credible contenders of similar size that aren't just reselling Youtube with a branded player.

The public demand itself is enough. Search for Google is already subject to regulation in the EU.


A monopoly is only illegal if YouTube is using anti-competitive practices to stifle competition. It's not illegal if people just prefer YouTube's product.


> A monopoly is only illegal if YouTube is using anti-competitive practices to stifle competition. It's not illegal if people just prefer YouTube's product.

This isn't strictly true even in America, and it's worth noting that every sanctioned monopoly in American history has tried to use this line of reasoning.


It is strictly true as far as the law is concerned.

> every sanctioned monopoly in American history has tried to use this line of reasoning.

So what? That's like saying "every criminal has claimed they were innocent". It doesn't mean that innocent people don't exist.


> It is strictly true as far as the law is concerned.

I think maybe the problem here is that you're assuming that "active" interference needs to take place. All you need to do to hurt competition is set your monopoly-backed prices too low for other competitors to match and if you lack any competition, you're not stifling it.

> So what? That's like saying "every criminal has claimed they were innocent". It doesn't mean that innocent people don't exist.

Right, but that means "I am innocent" doesn't constitute an ironclad defense. Which is the only point I'm trying to make.

And I think the ugly part about this is that YouTube actually does an amazing and in fact peerless job on the technical side. I know how a lot of it works and it's breathtaking.

But that's part of why they can set their price for hosting at $0/byte. And that's hard for anyone at a less superlative scale to compete with.


> All you need to do to hurt competition is set your monopoly-backed prices too low for other competitors to match and if you lack any competition, you're not stifling it.

YouTube has stayed the same price since it was created, long before it became a monopoly.

> Right, but that means "I am innocent" doesn't constitute an ironclad defense. Which is the only point I'm trying to make.

Obviously. My point is that you haven't shown any examples of YouTube abusing its monopoly to stifle competition, thus the argument that they are in danger of violating anti-trust laws does not seem to be correct.

We both agree that YouTube has the largest market share, but can you explain to me why you believe YouTube's market share is the result of anti-competitive practices and not a result of a superior product?




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: