Deleting Facebook is not enough: without antitrust, the company will be our lives' "operating system"


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/18/trustbust-the-world.html


#2

Fbook keeps giving the World reasons to delete it?

#DELETEFACEFUCKING BOOK


#3

Yes, this exactly. I deleted my facebook account a month or two ago, but they already have everything they would ever want to know about me. Mark Zuckerberg is a cancer on society.


#4


#5

In order for anti-trust proceedings to take place the government will have to first re-define what it considers a monopoly to include companies that don’t charge money to consumers. Until then Zuckerberg’s shills will just shrug and say “no-one’s getting gouged on prices because of FB’s market dominance, so where’s the harm?”


#6

Facebook’s still around because it fills a need, methinks. I’d suggest that our lives wouldn’t need an “operating system” if not for the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle inspiring fear and divisiveness.

But then, we might as well take a step further back and say that we wouldn’t have a 24-hour news cycle if not for Late Stage Capitalism, and so on.


#7

As much as I loath Facebook, I’m suspicious of calls to regulate them, Twitter and Google.

A lot of the push behind this seems to be coming from older money groups that would love to carve up Facebook’s niche and profit from it without increasing user security or decreasing the data mining of their user resources.


#8

I deleted my Facebook account last week. Felt good. Maybe it isn’t enough but it sure is something.


#9

I’m fine with breaking up any walled garden. Anti-trust can have its place in that process when applied to situations where the end-user consumers are products rather than paying customers.

Also, the outcomes of these sorts of actions can be positive. Once Microsoft lost its dominance in the browser area Firefox emerged, and Chrome (despite the data mining on behalf of Google) was still more secure and standards-compliant than Internet Explorer.


#10

Except a lot of it is probably wrong and it will mostly go stale now. Advertisers don’t care about what you might have bought five years ago.


#11

Antitrust. Fascism. Have we always been unable to maintain institutions and norms once the reason for them passes out of living memory, or is it worse now than in the past? If it is, I’d really like to know why.


#12

Awesome how as the world grows more complex and complicated, people are growing more stupid.
In Facebook’s case, before needing to make it a for pay service (although query whether it would actually be harmful if it was): Break up the company, ending its practice of buying likely competitors and give users full access to and complete control of their data. Also, generally, no publicly-owned company should be structured so that a single person has absolute control.


#13

I’m generally okay with anti-trust regulation, but I question whether FB is a “trust” in the classic sense. The article itself states that. Google Plus didn’t fail because FB used the sledghammer of capital to keep it from succeeding. I don’t have to use Instagram to share photos (in fact there does seem to be a prejudice against Instagram among professional and amateur photographers.) Yes, FB owns Whatsapp now, but again–there are lots of alternative options out there.

What I’m saying is that FB can be bad and not be anticompetitive in a way that would trigger regulation. I think there’s a general failure here to understand the structural nature of trusts and monopolies and a little too eager a desire to force their characteristics onto FB, for example:

If there’s evidence, then I’d like to see it. But all this is, is an assertion. It’s not clear in what way this stifled innovation. Snapchat is still going strong, as best as I can tell, and I see no innovations that people are simply not incorporating into social media because of Facebook. It’s just a way of clumsily forcing the trust analogy onto Facebook.

The reason why, as Weisberg says:

… is because this isn’t inherently an antitrust issue. Why bring it up as one? There are more robust paradigms that can be used that are less contrived, such as legally limiting the amount and kind of data services can collect. The argument here seems to be that regulatory capture often renders such law meaningless, but regulatory capture has also been used to render antitrust law meaningless.

Moreover, I question whether we’d have seen the same raft of articles and thinkpieces about the pervasive menace of Facebook if the Cambridge Analytica scandal hadn’t broke. Look, I hate Trump as much as the next guy, but as with Khashoggi, and police violence, these are problems that predate Trump and sometimes it feels like people only acquire convictions about them because they can now be associated with Trump. Obama shook hands and broke bread with the Saudis many a time, the Bill Clinton is eternally associated with the superpredator meme and the dismantling of public welfare (and let’s also talk about his role in Haiti, maybe?), and infosec and data collection have been an absolute dumpster fire and will continue to be if FB disappears tomorrow. I’m well aware that there’s the annoying rat’s anus of whataboutism that crops up whenever people defend Trump, and obviously he’s objectively terrible, but there does seem to be a lack of desire to dig a littler deeper and think a little more critically about why these problems exist when the specter of Trump is somehow attached. I cannot help but wonder if Trump wasn’t president if we’d take a more critical look at articles like this and others that rely on our (well-founded, but ultimately emotional) presumptions to assert things for which they have no proof (as above).

As for Facebook, it’s killing itself slowly. People my age and younger are increasingly disengaged from Facebook. I know lots of people who don’t know what Farmville is and can’t guess what it would have been. Many people I know create Facebook profiles under assumed names and just troll closed meme groups. There’s also a class bifurcation, where Facebook is gradually being used more by people with lower incomes. This is why FB is so invested in buying up smaller social media companies… its flagship is starting to show signs of age, and under the creaky floorboards are stupid decisions and mismanagement that are going to take it into its Steve Ballmer era and will absolutely poison its endeavors.


#14

nixon-head-agnew


#15

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