As sovereign states work overtime to tame the tech giants, should platforms be punished for succeeding beyond anyones wildest imaginations?
It rose from the deep, at first small, and fumbling for a way to sustain itself. The world didnt really know what to make of it at firstit was a shapeless virtual thing piggybacking on the Internet.
A mere 30 years ago, people werent too interested in the internet or anything that existed on it. In fact, a 1998 quote from American economist and a 2008 Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman resurfaced by tech analyst Ben Thompson, dreadfully underestimates the Internet, By 2005or so, it will become clear that the Internets impact on the economy has been no greater than [that of] the fax machines.
And so, the world largely left the sector to its own devices to grow unfettered, because no one really thought that, in two decades, the formless internet will grow into a full-fledged giant consequential enough to rule our minds and predict our behaviour.
The legend of the Leviathan adapted for the 21stcentury might as well be a five headed giant known as Big Tech (Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft) with other smaller personal-data guzzling platforms operating as its arms, legs, eyes, and ears to form an ever-evolving nimble giant zipping around the world on the internet as if it was a magic carpet to keep gaining more and more access and control over our lives. After using your credit card to order pizza online, dont be surprised if you start seeing pizza ads on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, tempting you to order more because now Big Tech knows you can afford it. When you write a Facebook post about being sad, dont be surprised if you start seeing ads for mental health on Google Search.
At a larger scale, Russians were targetting American social media and PayPal users with propaganda during the 2016 US elections few thought Trump would win. In 2018, two men were killed in Assam because of rumours spread on WhatsApp. Sri Lanka shut down Facebook services and Viber messaging app in 2018 to stem the spread of inflammatory content following an altercation between Muslims and Sinhalese.
Russians were targetting American social media and PayPal users with propaganda during the 2016 US elections few thought Trump would win.
No country is left untouched by the undesired ripples of the Leviathans impact and no government can afford to stand by and watch its citizens get hurt or democratic processes get tampered. As US President Joe Bidensaidof social media platforms, Theyre killing people.
After years of very little action to regulate tech companies, governments are showing their might. India swiftly banned over 59 Chinese apps including the mega successful TikTok to show it will not compromise national security even if it angers China, an important trade partner.
Then, after at least two years of mulling revisions to the intermediary guidelines, the newly gazetted rules were published in 2021 only a few hours after a government statement firmlysaid,Social media platforms welcome to do business in India but they need to follow the Constitution and laws of India.
Australia laid down a new law so that Google and Facebook will have to pay news publishers because its core products like Google Search, and Facebook News Feed used content from news media to grow but never paid the news organisations for that privilege.
In the US, after its initial case was dismissed in June 2021, the US Federal Trade Commission again in August 2021 filed an antitrust case against Facebook accusing it of illegal practices to maintain its monopolistic position.
China too is cracking its whip against tech companies with a strict data protection law.
Governments turning on the pressure doesnt mean the digital Leviathan will quietly submit. Each of the big tech companies are as powerful and affluent as a sovereign nation with market caps in the trillions. If anyone can take on governments, its Leviathan.
Washington Postshowsthat in 2020, tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, and Google spent over US $65 million on lobbying for its own agendas as US officials intensified the heat on tech.
Each of the big tech companies are as powerful and affluent as a sovereign nation with market caps in the trillions. If anyone can take on governments, its Leviathan.
These are companies that can also afford the most talented and well-networked people to work on their public policy and government relations in key markets. These are individuals who can influence government officials in power to nudge decisions in their favour by promising investments and job creation in key constituencies.
At the end of the day, what needs to happen is not for the Leviathan to be punished for succeeding beyond anyones wildest imagination, but to prevent harm to people stemming from a tech platform.
No tech company envisioned their product could become harmful but only saw ways technology can be used to create more services and increase its bottom line. That might make them thoughtless but certainly not evil monsters.
Going forward, for any meaningful change to happen in the tech sector, governments must first commit to understanding the technicalities of how IT platforms operate so that lawmakers better understand how to regulate the sector without killing innovation.
Tech companies need to stop being so insular in their approach (is that wishful thinking?) and come clean about how their platforms work, without resorting to jargon nobody understands. That way, users and lawmakers know more about each tech platform and understand better how to navigate them. Tech platforms also need to stop manipulating user behaviour. Setting the algorithm so a user spends more time looking at provocative content might be good for the platform, but is not good for the users health, and collectively for society.
As for us, the people, understand that you shouldnt believe everything you see online, and that you dont need to post all your personal details on Facebook. Above all, understand that it is now your moral obligation to stop abusing tech platforms for your own political agendas. The social fabric is a little too overwrought right now to continue suffering stabs levelled by communally divisive posts.
- Europe reins in Big Tech: What you need to know - POLITICO.eu - November 25th, 2021
- How the Federal Trade Commission Can Break Up Big Tech - Progressive.org - November 25th, 2021
- The Irish DPC Slapped With Corruption Allegations; South Korea Place Big Tech Under the Microscope - ExchangeWire - November 25th, 2021
- The US has an education problem, but is Big Tech really the answer? - TechCrunch - November 25th, 2021
- OPINION | Is Big Tech bad at business? | Op-Ed | livingstonparishnews.com - The Livingston Parish News - November 25th, 2021
- Big Tech Is Fighting Over Who Gets to Build a Cloud for the Pentagon - Tech.co - November 25th, 2021
- USPTO Dodges Attack from Big Tech to Rein in Discretionary IPR Denials - The National Law Review - November 25th, 2021
- What Cramer is watching in the market Monday, including a big tech trend emerging - CNBC - November 25th, 2021
- Big Tech at COP26: Here's who attended the climate talks and what roles they played - CNET - November 25th, 2021
- Josh Hawley blasts Big Tech after Rittenhouse verdict: 'Think they're above the law' - Fox Business - November 25th, 2021
- Good tech developments and changes in 2021 - Popular Science - November 25th, 2021
- DBS Bank strategits sees Big Tech as big beneficiaries of the Metaverse - CoinJournal - November 25th, 2021
- Beijing issues fines for 43 Big Tech M&A deals all the way back to 2012 - The Register - November 25th, 2021
- The Big Tech propaganda on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Why India should be wary of social media giants furthering liberal agenda - OpIndia - November 25th, 2021
- Europes fractured approach to digital regulation stymies fight against Big Tech - POLITICO.eu - November 17th, 2021
- Senate Approves Jonathan Kanter, a Big Tech Critic, As Top U.S. Antitrust Official - The New York Times - November 17th, 2021
- Antitrust hawks offer states a toolbox for regulating Big Tech - Roll Call - November 17th, 2021
- Big Techs assault on workers and democracy must be stopped - Capitol Weekly - November 17th, 2021
- The Tech Gifts That Are Hard to Buy This Holiday Season - The New York Times - November 17th, 2021
- New CFPB Chief Rohit Chopra Confirmed By Senate And Takes Immediate Action Against Big Tech Firms - Consumer Protection - United States - Mondaq News... - November 17th, 2021
- Federal Agencies Need to Be Staffed to Advance Broadband and Tech Competition - EFF - November 17th, 2021
- Restore Net Neutrality, Or Facebook Will Dominate The Internet Forever - VICE - November 17th, 2021
- 10 Big Tech Companies Using Python to Streamline Processes - Analytics Insight - November 17th, 2021
- IC Interviews webinar: The big tech trajectory for investors: US vs the world - Investors Chronicle - November 17th, 2021
- Nicholas Thompson on the outsized influence of Big Tech - GZERO Media - November 17th, 2021
- Big Tech is still headed for its biggest year ever, but Apple and Amazon could cut into profit - MarketWatch - October 30th, 2021
- With Facebooks change to Meta, whats the new Big Tech acronym? - The Verge - October 30th, 2021
- What is the metaverse? A look at what Big Tech views as the next stage of the internet - WGNO New Orleans - October 30th, 2021
- Is Big Tech 'greenwashing' its environmental responsibilities ahead of COP26? - Yahoo Tech - October 30th, 2021
- What is the Australian government doing to crack down on big tech, and why? - The Guardian Australia - October 30th, 2021
- Apple & Amazon on Deck as Big Techs Big Week Is A Bit Mixed - The Ticker Tape - October 30th, 2021
- Cramer rejects calls to break up Big Tech, says U.S. government is wrong to target it - CNBC - October 28th, 2021
- Point: It's time to rein in Big Tech's power - WORLD News Group - October 28th, 2021
- Big techs push for automation hides the grim reality of microwork - The Guardian - October 28th, 2021
- US stocks end mixed as Big Tech continues to shine - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - October 28th, 2021
- Hedge Fund's Confidence In Five Big Tech Companies Sinks To Multi-Year Low - The Motley Fool - October 28th, 2021
- The art of techplomacy: How Denmark deals with Big Tech - Verdict - October 28th, 2021
- Small business advocacy group asks lawmakers to rethink Big Tech regulation strategy - The Georgia Virtue - October 28th, 2021
- Tesla drives up S&P 500s disruptive tech exposure as the index rides to record highs in October - MarketWatch - October 28th, 2021
- Facebook revelations add new momentum to efforts to rein in Big Tech - Henry Herald - October 26th, 2021
- Hauenstein Center hosts discussion event on big tech - Grand Valley Lanthorn - October 26th, 2021
- Dow rises for a third straight day to eke out another record on the back of strong earnings - CNBC - October 26th, 2021
- Hagerty urges Sanders to oppose immigration provisions backed by Big Tech in Dem spending bill - Fox News - October 26th, 2021
- UK hands Big Tech headache over to super-regulator - POLITICO.eu - October 26th, 2021
- Our society is troubled. Beware those who blame it all on big tech - The Guardian - October 24th, 2021
- Big Tech earnings in the week ahead could test stocks' recent rally - CNBC - October 24th, 2021
- Dow hit by IBM results, Nasdaq rises on gains in Big Tech - Reuters - October 24th, 2021
- Big Tech Falsely Claims They're Protecting Americans From China - The Federalist - October 24th, 2021
- New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies' - Common Dreams - October 24th, 2021
- Most big tech firms have become places where talent goes to die: Elon Musk - Economic Times - October 24th, 2021
- What Does Big Tech Know About You? Basically Everything - PCMag AU - October 24th, 2021
- Daily Crunch: To stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech, Trump launches social network - TechCrunch - October 21st, 2021
- How Whistleblowers Have Put Big Tech On The Back Foot : 1A - NPR - October 21st, 2021
- Bill Gates Says Climate Startups Have Big Tech PotentialBut Theyre Not for Everyone - Observer - October 21st, 2021
- What big tech doesn't have when it comes to healthcare - Modern Healthcare - October 21st, 2021
- AMZN vs. GOOG: Which Is The Better Big Tech Stock Today? - TheStreet - October 21st, 2021
- Facebook can be its own country when it gets an army - The Week Magazine - October 19th, 2021
- The Technopolar Moment: How Digital Powers Will Reshape the Global Order - Foreign Affairs Magazine - October 19th, 2021
- The Big Tech Activists Turning the Tables on Silicon Valley - Business Insider - October 19th, 2021
- Big Tech's big challenge to the global order - GZERO Media - October 19th, 2021
- Paul Hopkins: Big Tech, and advent of the whistleblower - Meath Chronicle - October 19th, 2021
- Adrian Shahbaz and Allie Funk: Governments are coming for Big Tech. Here's what it could mean for your rights online - TribLIVE - October 19th, 2021
- This fund wants to fight Big Tech. NGOs fear the worst. - POLITICO.eu - October 19th, 2021
- FTC Releases Findings on How Big Tech Eats Little Tech ... - October 15th, 2021
- Unchecked Big Tech Endangers U.S. National Security | Opinion - October 15th, 2021
- Invoking 'Big Tech' as an accusation can endanger American security | TheHill - The Hill - October 15th, 2021
- Big Tech censorship on climate change only hurts the nation - New York Post - October 15th, 2021
- This charity wants to cure or kill Big Tech - Wired.co.uk - October 15th, 2021
- Government and Big Tech must tackle online harassment against journalists - The Globe and Mail - October 15th, 2021
- The dangers of lawmakers contradiction and confusion on Big Tech - Yahoo News - October 15th, 2021
- Leaving Big Tech for a Startup? These 7 Staffers Have Done Just That. - Business Insider - October 15th, 2021
- As Big Tech Grows in the Pandemic, Seattle Grows With It - The New York Times - October 13th, 2021
- There Is No Bipartisan Consensus on Big Tech - WIRED - October 13th, 2021
- Europe's top 'tech cop' is ready to take on Big Tech with America - POLITICO - October 13th, 2021
- Biden's nominees show embrace of progressive views of Big Tech - Roll Call - October 13th, 2021
- Big Tech, Big Government, bigger concerns - The Boston Globe - October 13th, 2021
- Big tech sweeps up Hill staffers just when Congress needs them the most - POLITICO - October 13th, 2021
- How Big Tech Threatens the Culture of Our Communities - Governing - October 13th, 2021
- Big Tech to be forced to hand over data on political ads - POLITICO.eu - October 13th, 2021
- Big Tech bank invasion halted at the moat - BlueNotes - October 13th, 2021