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Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley Demand Investigations of Big Tech

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by NightHawkeye, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    Sens. Cruz, Hawley Demand Investigations of Big Tech

    Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri put Big Tech companies on notice by pressing the Federal Trade Commission via a July 15 open letter to investigate them for hacking American democracy. "They control the ads we see, the news we read, and the information we digest," they wrote. "And they actively censor some content and amplify other content based on algorithms and intentional decisions that are completely nontransparent."

    The letter explained how Big Tech monopolies “threaten democracy.” It went into detail by elaborating that these unchecked corporate giants “greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have no accountability to voters.” It added “they are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.”

    :oldthumbsup:
     
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  2. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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    Something something free market something something.
     
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  3. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

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    Only matters when the target of the government is conservative.
     
  4. cow451

    cow451 Individual-2 Supporter

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    Comrades Cruz and Hawkeye do not want facts to get in the way of the patriotic freedom fighters of the web.
     
  5. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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  6. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    Noting that a monopoly is NOT free market ...
     
  7. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

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    Good thing they aren’t.
     
  8. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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    Which company is a monopoly?
     
  9. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    ... in the same way that AT&T was not a monopoly.
     
  10. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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    You had to use AT&T if you wanted phone service. You can use other social media platforms with ease and can avoid these altogether. It isn't their fault you'll be the only one posting there.

    Regulations are bad, mmkay? Free market will always correct itself, mmkay?
     
  11. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

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    If you completely ignore the difference between phone lines and internet sites, sure.
     
  12. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    What percentage of the phone market did AT&T command?
    What percentage of internet searching and advertising does Google command?
    What percentage of internet videos does Google control?
     
  13. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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    Monopoly
    the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service.

    You are free to use other services than Google. Now, MAYBE I think they could be reigned in, but I'm also for regulations on business. I view it as very hypocritical to cry about business regulations hurting things then want regulations on those businesses you don't like.
     
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  14. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    Noting that monopolies have always been the subject of scrutiny ... from all sides.

    It's a good thing. :oldthumbsup:
     
  15. LoAmmi

    LoAmmi Dispassionate

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    Explain how they are a monopoly again?
     
  16. cow451

    cow451 Individual-2 Supporter

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  17. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    I think that Google having most of the search market, along with them having one of the dominant phone platforms could potentially wind up being looked at.

    Much of the investigation into Microsoft was that they bundled and integrated internet explorer into their operating system, which leveraged their OS advantage to boost their browser market.

    Since Google services are completely integrated and default in the Android operating system, it might be something they would look at. Though in this case they are more leveraging the search advantage to boost the phone market share. And they use their search engine home page to market all of their tied in apps.
     
  18. SimplyMe

    SimplyMe Senior Veteran

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    Actually, Google services are not necessarily integrated or the default. In fact, the largest maker of Android phones, Samsung, has their own services -- such as their browser, phone app, texting app, etc. as the default on their phones. While I do believe Google asks manufacturers that use Android to include the Google apps (services), they are not required to, and some manufacturers do not, make them the default. Additionally, almost 45% of smartphones in the US are made by Apple, which ship with no Google apps installed on them. Between Apple and Samsung, that makes nearly three quarters of US smartphones that do not use Google apps by default.

    Prior to the AT&T breakup, they owned and operated 100% of the US local telephone network (and Canada's). You can argue that the network was broken up between several AT&T subsidiaries -- but the fact remains they were owned by AT&T. In fact, it was in denying connections to MCI who was attempting to compete with AT&T in data transmission that led to the breakup of AT&T. So they not only had a clear monopoly but were caught trying to stifle competition.

    As for Internet searches, 88% of US searches are done on Google. I think the big issue with trying to call that a monopoly is, as was stated above by LoAmmi, they have that number because people choose to use them -- not because there aren't other choices.

    YouTube is harder to say -- largely because there are so many other sources to watch video online. What makes YouTube unique, and why people want to call them a monopoly, is because of their success in having people upload video content to them, and then to allow people to watch those videos for free. I don't think you can really call YouTube a monopoly, though, since there are so many other sources to watch videos, and a large number of people watch a huge number of hours of videos from places like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc -- not to mention all the OTA and cable channels that offer content streamed over the Internet.

    If Google (a really does have a monopoly, it likely is in their digital advertising company -- which provides the revenue for Google search and YouTube. While that may be a monopoly and likely should be investigated, I understand it is not politically "sexy" -- since that isn't where politicians can claim bias. I'm also not sure that splitting them off would make fewer people use Google Search or YouTube (it might hurt YouTube's payouts -- though I'm not sure if that would increase competition or just reduce the amount of videos uploaded, since there would be less money for creators).

    Last, there is an "issue" with the Internet in that services become so large precisely because they get a large number of users. People use Facebook because it is the one place all their friends and families belong to; but prior to Facebook you had MySpace -- and if a better social media site comes along and can get a lot of users, they'll likely make Facebook the "new" MySpace (as in obsolete).

    This also shows a real problem -- how do you split something like Facebook up. Chances are, whichever of the new "baby Facebooks" had the best content would cause everyone to join that one -- and you'd just have a new Facebook (with the other "baby Facebooks" dying out). While YouTube might be easier to split (since you could split perhaps on subject matter -- YouTube Music, YouTube Tech, YouTube Politics, etc -- that still likely wouldn't help competitors to break into the market. The issue is, when we are talking about social sites, people will want to be where all their friends and family are -- which leads to everyone using the same sites.
     
  19. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    Incorrect. How AT&T Conquered The 20th Century

    AT&T owned only about 80% of the local telephone market prior to its breakup. There were some other fairly large businesses in that market, GTE perhaps being the biggest. I know. I had phone service with GTE back in the 1970's, well before the AT&T breakup. GTE - Wikipedia
    Power corrupts.

    I find it curious that Google dropped its motto "Do no evil", some years ago.
     
  20. whatbogsends

    whatbogsends Senior Veteran

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    Your understanding of economic concepts is incorrect.

    A monopoly is a potential outcome of a free market economy. Monopoly entities distort the normal equilibrium a free market economy would yield, but it can still exist within a free market economy. Constraining monopolies is not "free market".
     
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