Earlier this month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC, Australia’s analogue to our Federal Trade Commission) issued a report criticizing online giants Google and Facebook and even recommended that a new government watchdog organization be formed for the purpose of watching over the two companies.
The ACCC report addressed the fact that Google and Facebook have developed “significant market power in terms of news discovery and digital advertising – and have, up until now, operated in an almost completely unfettered fashion,” as well as concerns over how the companies have collected and disseminated user data without consumers’ knowledge.
Meanwhile in America, alarm over the deportment of these tech racketeers is growing with mounting revelations of their unethical practices. On Dec. 7, Liberty Vittert published a piece for the Fox News website entitled “Facebook is the villain and we all finally know it.” The column discussed highly confidential documents and company emails that had been released by a British lawmaker that week, and which revealed that Facebook has indeed been selling its users’ data, despite repeated denials that it has done so. Further, that Facebook “leveraged our data to reward developers who spent a lot of money on the platform, and ice out its competitors, all the while making sure we, the users, never found out.”
This is all in addition to the shameless manner in which Facebook has advanced a far-left agenda whilst taking great pains to silence opposing views on its platform. On Dec. 10, Fox News’ Brian Flood published a column on how foreign governments as well as state and local governments in America are beginning to wake up to Facebook’s chicanery. Recently, WND covered the pushback campaign of a very powerful private advocacy organization that is threatening to lobby Congress to remove legal protections from these tech companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if they continue to censor conservative content.
Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee to address allegations of anti-conservative bias and privacy violations on that platform. In his prepared remarks, Pichai said:
“I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests. We are a company that provides platforms for diverse perspectives and opinions – and we have no shortage of them among our own employees.”
To which I tweeted in response:
Can you say ‘lying sack of crap?’ Sure ya can… https://t.co/mPFImNN8kl
— Erik Rush (@erikrush) December 11, 2018
In March of this year, I shared in this space how Google had sent me a notice via email that my website contained unacceptable “social engineering content” and subsequently designated it a “deceptive site” – such as those where one might pick up a nice case of malware, a computer virus, or fall prey to a phishing scam. That tech companies like Google and Facebook have engaged in draconian practices to stifle that of which they do not approve is simply not open for debate, so brazen have their methods been.
The significance of the Australian agency’s reference to “significant market power” cannot be overstated. Market power carries the ability to influence hearts and minds, and the more market power someone has, the greater their influence. Facebook had 2.17 billion users worldwide at the beginning of this year, and Google is already the Kleenex of search engines.
The ACCC report on Google and Facebook also stated as follows:
“Australian law does not prohibit a business from possessing significant market power or using its efficiencies or skills to ‘out compete’ its rivals. But when their dominant position is at risk of creating competitive or consumer harm, governments should stay ahead of the game and act to protect consumers and businesses through regulation.”
In this vein, I would encourage online consumers (and certainly the Trump White House, if it hasn’t already done so) to study the history of antitrust law in America. While some forms of antitrust legislation have been opportunistic government power grabs, others involved circumstances wherein powerful corporate interests engaged in activities so precedent-setting in their lack of ethics that said activities were criminalized.
While the politically motivated antics of tech giants like Facebook and Google are craven, subversive and border on sedition, they aren’t merely trying to socially engineer a leftist America; they’re attempting to own all of cyberspace and rule it with an iron fist. If left unchecked, they will become the sole arbiters of what is acceptable online fare, regardless of whether it’s politics, products, fashion trends – you name it.
Like the monopolies that were legitimately reined in during the last century, these companies are only getting away with what we’re letting them get away with. Australia’s ACCC is making a beginning in mitigating their influence in the same spirit of fair play America has exercised in the past.
It may be somewhat more difficult to initiate a move against them than in bygone days since their industry and our government are infested with the same class of socialistic vermin, but with the proper impetus from the public and a few stalwarts in our government, it can – and must – be done.