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Facebook responds to calls to end its monopoly

By mongeese · 14 replies
May 12, 2019
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  1. Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg fifteen years ago, published a compelling argument for its destruction in the New York Times three days ago. Fundamentally, his argument is that Facebook will continue to falter and cause pain if its monopoly is allowed to persist, and Zuckerberg has the power to do whatever he likes.

    Underpinning his thesis is the premise that Facebook’s woes have been caused by a focus on revenue and ‘clicks’ causing management to ignore risks and employees to ignore questionable moral practices. This has only been permitted by the market, Hughes believes, because of Facebook’s brutal tactics to quash, purchase or copy competitors.

    “When I read what he wrote, my main reaction was that what he’s proposing that we do isn’t going to do anything to help solve those issues,” Mark Zuckerberg told France Info while in Paris yesterday. “So I think that if what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to be able to invest billions of dollars per year like we are in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference.”

    Zuckerberg’s argument mirrors that of Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, who's formally responded to Hughes in his own New York Times editorial. “In my view — and that of most people who write about technology’s impact on society — what matters is not size but rather the rights and interests of consumers, and our accountability to the governments and legislators who oversee commerce and communications.”

    Clegg agrees with Hughes that Facebook needs more regulation and needs to do a better job – if he thought otherwise, he’d be crazy. But breaking up the company doesn’t fundamentally stop Russian agents from gaining political influence, terrorists from broadcasting violence or white supremacists spreading hate. He points out the obvious: fixing those things requires money, money only Facebook has. “The resources that we will spend on security and safety this year alone will be more than our overall revenues at the time of our initial public offering in 2012. That would be pretty much impossible for a smaller company.”

    Security errors, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the recent discovery that Facebook stores thousands of passwords in plain text format are no less preventable in a smaller company nor one whose executives wield less power. Poor content management, like the decision to define newsworthy content as anything relating to “politics, crime or tragedy,” is likely to be even more rampant when executives can’t step in to change things easily.

    Clegg also argues that Facebook doesn’t have a monopoly, “almost all of our revenue comes from digital advertising, and most estimates say Facebook’s share is about 20 percent of the United States online ad market, which means 80 percent of all digital ads happen off our platforms.”

    While Facebook incorporates many of the largest social networking apps, each competes with several others. The “blue app” as pure Facebook itself is called, along with Instagram, compete with YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and the newcomer, TikTok. Whatsapp and Messenger compete with and lose to Apple’s iMessage, WeChat, Line, and Skype. Clegg’s argument is at its weakest here, as he fails to mention that Facebook apps dominate in specific regions, where entire cultures are shaped by Facebook’s algorithms.

    In ways, both Hughes, Zuckerberg, and Clegg are right. Facebook’s mistakes have disastrous consequences, more regulation might help but there simply isn’t a solution to fixing it right now.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 3,921   +1,157

    Regulation will not bring moral behavior. It takes a dedication to ethics above income.
     
  3. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Guru Posts: 977   +701

    #1 Facebook is not a "social media" platform. Facebook is a DATA MINING operation.

    Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter...

    It's the "Beast" computer that conspiracy theorists claimed the government always had - watching our every move.

    Now they see that the government didn't need to watch us...we were STUPID ENOUGH to force feed them our information - and information about others.


    #2 Cuckerberg will get nothing from me except reposted memes and re-shares of funny posts.

    #3 NO I will not buy any "home" speakers for my living room or dining room or kitchen.

    #4 NO I will not leave video game consoles with always on cameras anywhere in the house I or my children sleep.

    It's the government itself who's propping Facebook up. They went after Microsoft for less.
     
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,144   +3,565

    Fakebook needs to go .... plain and simple.
     
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,803   +3,187

    If you ask me Google and Equifax are worse.
     
    Charles Olson and Digitalzone like this.
  6. GamerNerves

    GamerNerves TS Rookie Posts: 25   +12

    I agree this data mining operation is a disastrous and worthless effort, that will only bring confusion and distrust between people and the government, eventually destroying democracy and replacing it with better alternative. It is hard to say what harm will a basic user face due to data mining, but most likely crucial beneficial information will be reviewed and used to make money, by straight up stealing or otherwise. Blackmailing can also be a thing.

    I like USA's moral foundation and the very child like mindset of many people there, but what I don't like are USA's big corporations who control media and do whatever shady stuff trying to shift country for the worse. Big dreams ended up in big problems, but I know that American dream is not really about money or power, it's completely something else.

    PS. Whatsapp is also a spying software. I currently use Signal for instant messaging.
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  7. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,620   +2,353

    "Whatsapp and Messenger compete with and lose to Apple’s iMessage, WeChat, Line, and Skype."

    Uhh...no. Not even CLOSE to the truth. I know people who use iMessage occasionally but literally EVERYONE is on Facebook Messenger. The other chat services? I bet nobody reading this uses any of them or even knows someone who currently does.
     
  8. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 219   +95

    I use Signal too, but know the US Gov are watching that.

    Don't believe me? Download & install PeerBlock, goto www.iblocklist.com and add US Gov Blacklist.

    Now try using Signal again.
     
  9. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 637   +614

    But surely regulation is more likely to bring about standards that more closely resemble moral behaviour than a lack of regulation, right?

    If you have a Facebook account, they already know waaaaaay more than just what you post. They know the time you use the app, what posts you look at longer than others, which sources you're more likely to read, your location, what other apps you use, what websites you visit, who you're connected to, your facial recognition data, etc etc. You don't need to "tell" Facebook anything; it finds out.
     
  10. JB3543

    JB3543 TS Member Posts: 26   +33

    If the USA adopted privacy laws similar to what the Europeans now have, that alone would probably kick the hell out of Facebook. And Google.

    The real monopoly to worry about is Microsoft. Those boneheads have had a HUGE negative impact on innovation thanks to their market position.
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,703   +2,070

    It certainly is nice to think so. However, in the US at least, regulation is just as likely to spark entities finding its loopholes.
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  12. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Guru Posts: 653   +469

    Almost every company collects whatever data it can and uses it in marketing campaigns whenever possible. It helps them get more income and thus (hopefully) utilize ad services less. Facebook has always been free for everyone. How do you think that is possible?
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  13. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 714   +268

    If it's free, it's data mining.
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  14. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 230   +53

    The rationale does not make good sense. Because Zuckerberg is in control and cares for clicks so dismantle FB?

    sounds like some one who is jealous of what he could have owned published by some one who likes yellow journalism......
     
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,703   +2,070

    I think the rationale is that Zucky has too much control, and is, basically, doing as he pleases even if what he pleases is only in the best interests of fakebook and company.

    In other words, Zucky, as has been shown in previous news items, could care less about his customers and the effects his business has on them. Of course, Zucky will never admit this in public, but it is there in internal documentation - specifically, a document that was released about a year or so ago that said that they implemented the "like" system because they knew it would addict at least some of their prey (customers) to the platform.

    IMO, this is the hallmark of a company/person only interested in how much he can prize from his customers at the sole expense of those same customers.
     

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