Podcast asks can Big Tech be tamed in America? Fixing Section 230

Podcast asks can Big Tech be tamed in America? Fixing Section 230
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I’m getting the podcast feed going again!

Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s my thoughts on taming Big Tech censorship in the USA.

Yesterday’s post is here.

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Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV Government vs Big Tech

This was my first Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV News.

Welcome back to BlockTV. I’m Brian of London and this is my alt-tech opinion for BlockTV on the 3rd of February 2020.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the big tech giants, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have too much power and control. Whether that’s a problem or not seems to be related to the size of your slice of their massive lobbying budgets.

The Antitrust Subcommittee of the US House Judiciary Committee is currently working on an investigation and a couple of weeks ago the committee took time out from impeaching Trump to continue doing something useful, perhaps. They held a field hearing about the power of online platforms and spoke to witnesses specifically about Facebook, Google Amazon and Apple.

This was part of their investigation into the competitiveness of digital markets: this is a bipartisan investigation which will generate a report and recommendations for new laws and regulations seeking to govern how big tech platforms work.

This meeting took testimony, under oath, from four witnesses⁠1. All four told compelling stories of how difficult it is to innovate in a market dominated by companies which have grown so huge. Throughout I heard a clear tension between business people who want government to get out of the way and let them innovate, against a recognition that Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have grown unnaturally large and are now a threat to innovation.

This is David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO of software service provider Basecamp.

[Video]

It was very clear in all of those tests that Facebook was by far and away the most effective way to market because of the immense amount of personal data that they have so we could target our apps to just an astonishing degree and no other advertising platform was able to compete and this is why Google who also has the same sort of capabilities of charging and Facebook is able to capture 99% of all growth in Internet advertisement as was stated in that report from 2016 because they simply have devastatingly effective machinery.

He’s arguing, and I’m in complete agreement, Facebook and Google managed to collect and gather a trove of personal information in an early gold rush. Most people had no idea they were handing over something this valuable in aggregate because individually they either thought it a fair exchange for free email, photo sharing with grandma and some shiny beads or they simply never thought of it. Apple and Amazon are sitting on similar power.

As these giants grew quickly, the incumbents in the advertising market, whose business they were eating, didn’t see it coming. Back in 2010 now prominent crypto invester, Lou Kerner, made what seemed like a wild prediction for Facebook advertising revenue in 2015 and that Facebook would come to dominate online advertising and how online advertising would dominate advertising in general.

[Video 48s]

Facebook hit his prediction about 18 months after his prediction but this was still wild growth.

I have worked on and run many websites since before Facebook started up until today:  especially in news and opinion, Facebook can easily send 70% of a site’s traffic. Whether you’re buying adverts using their astonishingly intrusive targeting data, or just trying to have your thoughts heard, Facebook is the giant you can’t ignore. 

For the crypto world, we can’t ignore Facebook’s January 2018 ban on crypto advertising and their casting of cryptocurrencies as a “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive practices”.

[Read]

Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.

Google and Twitter copied this weeks later. This attack on an entire industry that may one day compete with these incumbent giants doesn’t appear to have been illegal in America (though it may have broken Australia’s anti-cartel laws).

America doesn’t really have the same anti-trust regulations as Australia which is a pity. Even now the politicians don’t seem to know what to do next. Toward the end of the hearing the politicians ask the panel what they suggest: the short version is they really don’t know what to do about it.

Speaking in a separate interview to the Verge⁠2, committee chairman David Cicilline said this:

[Audio 36s]

This is not an investigation that results in an enforcement action investigation.

Congress is the only place that has the ability to actually change the statutes and update the laws and put proposed regulations in place that actually fix this marketplace. So unlike an enforcement action that focuses on the behavior — a single company gets directed to do a single thing — our work is much broader. And it is actually more significant because if we do it right, we can get this digital marketplace working properly. And that will benefit consumers. It will benefit the next great company that’s going to come down the pike because competition was possible.

The US Government is slowly coming to terms with the dramatic concentration of power which has happened to social media, online advertising, local, national and international news, retail sales and the distribution of apps on our phones, the most important communication devices in the world. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened to fast than for governments.

But for those of us with the ear to the ground in the crypto world, where suspicion of big government and their regulations is real and well founded, how do we feel about whatever this committee will propose? Does anyone think US authorities have done a great job regulating crypto? Can we place most of their efforts in the category of mostly harmful?

If you’ve got an opinion, look me up on twitter @brianoflondon or @brianoflondon on Steemit. Tell me know what you think.

For now, that’s Brian’s Alt-tech opinion.

1 https://judiciary.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2386

2 https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078903/podcast-house-antitrust-chairman-cicilline-tech-monopoly-vergecast

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

Facebook and Google are the corrupt oligarchs of data

Last week the US House Judiciary Committee took time out from their busy schedule of impeaching Donald Trump to actually do something useful. They held a field hearing about the power of online platforms and spoke to witnesses specifically about Facebook, Google and Amazon. This was the title of the hearing:

Field Hearing: Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 5: Competitors in the Digital Economy

Date: Friday, January 17, 2020 – 10:00am
Location: 01/17/2020 10:00 AM MST
Tags: Antitrust

If you want to watch the whole thing, you can here (link). Fox had a good write up. All of the witnesses told compelling stories of how difficult it is to innovate in a market dominated by companies that have grown so huge. Throughout I heard a clear tension between business people who clearly want government to get out of the way and let them innovate, but a recognition that Google, Facebook and Amazon (in particular) have grown unnaturally large and are now a threat to innovation.

I pulled out the following clip by the CTO of software service provider Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson. He has decided not to use Facebook for advertising and he explains how that is so difficult to do. It is entirely analogous to a news site or prominent individual who choses not to be active on Facebook or is banned from it for whatever reason.

He’s arguing, and I completely agree with him, Facebook and Google managed to collect and gather a trove of personal information in an early gold rush. Most people had no idea they were handing over something this valuable in aggregate because individually they thought it a fair exchange for shiny beads and services. Amazon is also sitting on a similar power.

I no longer have access to Facebook and I absolutely know that for the kind of blog posts I write, I would receive something like 70% of my traffic from there if I merely had a Facebook mirror of my blog posts. Whether you’re buying adverts using their astonishingly intrusive targeting data, or just trying to have your thoughts heard, Facebook is the giant you can’t ignore. That’s one of the reasons why their ban on crypto advertising had such a devastating effect.

America doesn’t really have the same anti-trust regulations we’re using in Australia for our suit. Which is a pity, they don’t seem to know what to do. Toward the end of the hearing the politicians ask the panel what they suggest: the short version is they really don’t know what to do about it!

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

Podcast puts words in Maxine Waters mouth, questions Zuckerberg and talks about indigenous identity

Podcast puts words in Maxine Waters mouth, questions Zuckerberg and talks about indigenous identity
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First up I’m talking about Maxine Waters asking Zuckerberg about the Crypto Ad Ban which forms the basis of @jpbliberty‘s Crypto Class Action court case in Australia. You can see that clip here on 3speak. This is a watershed moment, it’s by far and away the most important mainstream mention of this action taken by the tech Goliaths.

I’m also talking more generally about Zuckerberg’s recent interviews and his speech at Georgetown University.

Finally I address Indigenous Identity very briefly.

Happy to see comments and answer questions down below! Let me know what you think about any of this.

The Maxine Waters clip on C-Span is here:

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

Podcast talks about itself and Mark Zuckerberg’s new found free speech zeal at Facebook

Podcast talks about itself and Mark Zuckerberg’s new found free speech zeal at Facebook
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Are you listening to me as a Podcast? Please let me know if you want this to continue. I’m seriously considering switching only to publishing on Steem. The simple fact is that’s a lot easier than maintaining my own WordPress site.

I also spoke about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his new push toward free speech (or so he says). There’s a lot more to say on this, I’m listening to him in his Fox News interview as I type this.

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.