23 Comments
Feb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen

Two points come to mind, FB is acting childish and the Australians need to use a wider variety of media outlets for their news and information.

This legislation took away Facebook's ability to craft a narrative it believes is correct. Taking down the health and safety-focused pages is Facebook throwing a temper-tantrum because it isn't getting its way. Human Rights Watch, shame on you for being asleep, you should have seen this coming based on the FB's censorship in the US as a cautionary tale.

Australians, in fact, everyone else in the world, needs multiple sources for information. Using FB as a news source is like expecting reliable news from the neighborhood gossip.

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Feb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen

Australia’s legislation is good as it brings much needed control to Facebook, which is one of the big social media companies that act as if they can just do whatever they want, no matter how it effects society.

Watching Facebook,Twitter, and Amazon censor any type of posts that speak to Conservatism was appalling. These organizations are completely biased towards liberalism, which is fine, but they should not be allowed to simply stop conservative voices. They are way to big and influential to be able to act in such a selfish, bullyish way. I do not generally look to government regulation as a means to correct an issue, but all governments need to do much more to control these large selfish bully tech organizations.

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Feb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen

Well, it's pretty difficult to judge by a single article, but, Klon, as usual, you present us with an objective view.

Us poor average citizens must use the "sniff test" to decide who's right and who's wrong here.

Group 1: Facebook's fault, and intentional. This sounds pretty one-sided, but given the facts that everyone seems to agree on, you can argue that worst-case it was intentional, and best-case it was irresponsible. Not a good look for FB and it certainly supports my opinion that they are getting too big and too arrogant.

Group 2: Legislators Fault. This also sounds one-sided, like it came right from FB's mouth and was the best excuse they could muster. As a conservative purist, I tend to look unfavorably on most ALL attempts by government to legislate behavior. Not having actually seen it, I can't dispute that the legislation LIKELY was flawed, in terms of its intended results, because legislation usually is (IMNSHO).

Group 3: It's about time. We (globally) need to ween ourselves off of social media as a news source (AND a mind-numbing way to pass time), and we need to get back to reliance on our own skillsets of critical thinking and constructive dialog. To that end, it is good to see more and more challenges to Big Tech, and to see more and more attempts to subvert the control they have. Another tact would be to simply stop using them, painful as that might be. This particular (legislative) attempt may be flawed, but they'll work through it toward a better solution for them, and (as I tend to really value sovereignty) I look forward to more and more possible solutions, and we'll take the best over time and we'll start to relax the control of Big Tech. I tend to prefer this approach over the more obvious "kill the monopoly through legislation" view. The thought advanced by KenA is one I've favored for a long time - take your "fact-checking" and curating of content, and make it OPTIONAL, with a default of OFF. Let us OPT IN to your opinions, then we'll start to see who really values them. Even better, give us choices as to whose opinion we can use for curation (although I would prefer none). Also, let us OPT IN to your collecting and using our information, even in aggregate. And, honestly, BOYCOTT is not a bad idea - the ads and unsolicited content have become so intrusive and overwhelming, that I just don't use it anymore.

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Feb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen

Facebook is right, Australia is wrong. Sure, Australia is sovereign and--can and should--pass national laws. But Facebook has the choice to do business--or not do business--in any given jurisdiction, and to turn on, or off, any toggleable function. Consider any other tax law: If a locale jacks up taxes--as is their right--a company can bolt and decide to move their wares elsewhere. That's all a view at face value. But what I think really happened is that News Corp used its deep and broad political relationships in Australia to initiate legislation to pressure Google and Facebook to cut a deal with News Corps, the hometown giant. This is both an Australian shake-down of US business, and a corporate enlisting government to help it close a deal with another corporate.

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Facebook and Google have evolved into publishers and should be treated as such. Other publishers might want to band together and either charge these 2 internet publishers for the use of their content or prohibit its use. That would be a good way to bring some order back to the news industry and allow traditional publishers to receive value for the news they gather publish.

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More regulation implies more government. The last thing we need.

The citizen should be given a vehicle to sue large tech for 1st ammendment violations. A class action suit for example. I'm pretty sure there is a plethora number of individual cases and unique situations that would create a large representation of big tech violations.

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The problem is their "de facto" monopiles and predatory practices. Colluding with Amazon to eliminate Parler as a competitor to FB. Anti-trust laws should be enforced to the max.

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author

Bob, one point of clarification: Parler, when it employed Amazon web services and submitted its app for the Apple and Google apps stores, signed a contract saying it would not knowingly allow its platform to be used to plan or facilitate violence. Parler, by its own admission, was not taking action against users who were doing exactly that. Parler, then, violated its contract with all three companies and they discontinued their services in response.

One other point: Parler, at its zenith, had ~3million users. Twitter has 330 million and Facebook has 2.8 billion. I'm not sure either company viewed Parler as market share concern.

To be clear: I'm not poking at you. Just adding context. Happy to hear your further thoughts.

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My problems are as follows:

-No such action was taken against FB/Twitter during the BLM/Antifa riots.

-FB, Amazon, Twitter and Google have too much power due to their monopolies.

-Parler's competitors in collusion with Amazon decided that Parler posts facilitated violence. Did it really? What was the violence?

-If Parler violated their contract then take them to court don't pull the plug with no notice.

-All competitors start small and Parler was about to get much bigger overnight when their competitors pulled the plug.

-I believe it was Twitter that admitted the plug was pulled to prevent President Trump from having a voice. So the Big Tech Cabal took unto themselves the ultimate authority to decide that he facilitated violence. Actually that authority was the Senate's and he was acquitted.

-The big tech tycoons appear to had decided that the only political position to have a voice is the one they agree with.

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I think so they it could be taken audience away from news stations.

Big TECH gets away with way to much that needs to be addressed.

Under states rights-

Every state should pass laws or regulations that require providers of any communications for the general public with or without membership requirements to sign an agreement that in order to conduct business in the state they will be required to abide by and protect free speech as defined in our Constitution and only censor a citizen when breaking a law and must site the law when censoring. Require state Attorney General be notified of every incident when censoring a citizen and reason.

Our rights or not subject to approval by billionaires and do not cease at the door of some building.

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author

Ken, what would you say to those who argue: (1) that the constitutional protections of free speech only apply to what the government can do. Not private companies; (2) that the rules you place on "big tech" will also apply to your favorite conservative sources of news which means, for example, that FoxNews.com will have to publish op-eds from liberal authors, etc.; (3) that what these companies do -- curated content -- is inherently biased towards your preferences (e.g., YouTube is highlighting content based on YOUR viewing and is therefore "biasing" its results for your preferences); and that (4) what you're actually arguing is that the government should tell private companies how they can and cannot conduct their business. If one believes, for example, that a cake baker should not be forced to make a cake for someone, it seems that same person would not want the government to force private companies to carry content they do not want to host?

Thanks for your insights on this!

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Define their market so that they have the same market share as Fox News and the same responsibilities. Would require busting them up to have only ~15% of the market. They could spin off some to Parler and create new companies such that none has a monopoly.

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1. The rights granted in the Bill of Rights or granted to the people and if Congress is forbidden to abridge our rights then no one else can assume the authority forbidden Congress. To assume a company can ignore the rights of the people would in effect take them away and provide others the right to censor you, tell you if or which protests you can attend and terminate your employment for simply expressing views not supported by the boss. When a company is granted the right to take away your livelihood for your political opinions, you will end up with company leaders determining what your rights are. Almost all our communications travel over lines or air today and through equipment and systems owned by companies, texts, phone calls, emails and FaceTime imagine everyone of those equipped with AI that censors your speech based on what some company decides you can or can not say, use the wrong word and your shut off.

2. My proposal is to enforce the rights granted in the Constitution and our laws passed by Congress or State laws, nothing more than that. Allowing free speech on systems designed to allow the general public to communicate freely puts no requirement on anything else nor should it.

3. One can assume just about anything if one seeks too, but allowing lawful speech in accordance to our Constitution and existing laws does not intrude on other rights or impose other requirements.

Separate from free speech I do think the power of the media to influence opinions using selective reporting and censoring what does not support the political objectives of the owners or top boss must be addressed, but I also see that is a slippery slope to government control. Opinion shows should be clearly identified, news outlets have an obligation to report the new. How can any media endorse a candidate and be expected to report the news without being biased?

4. If you are going to provide a method for the general public to communicate and use it to profit from in my opinion you have no right to censor lawful speech.

If you wish to control what people are allowed to post based on the opinions of a select number of people you need to change from being a communication site for the public to a private site for members only and the members must be advised what is or is not acceptable on the site.

I would advocate that the existing companies who wish to control speech be split into with one becoming a members only who’s members agree to the terms controlling speech and the other a free speech outlet.

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The specific issues are beyond me, but I would like to offer up a solution to the whole mess. I see no reason why all the social media companies should not be considered "public utilities." Under that designation, public or private companies would be subject to regulation just like all the others.

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author

One of the challenges of this approach is that it is difficult to justify under the normal meaning of “public utility” because these companies do not have a government-imposed monopoly, and all of these businesses have multiple competitors in their respective markets.

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So do all the other markets. Telephone, gas, electric, water; basically any essentially used service. There are thousands of them.

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author

Again, a "public utility" is result of a government mandated monopoly where it is more efficient to only have one service provider because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity or water is very expensive to build and maintain.

None of that is true in the case of social media platforms.

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Not to be a nudge, but it would be "very expensive " to try to build out anything close to the structures use for social media. That's why there aren't any. Parler was immediately eliminated and can't afford its own structure. Even Trump, with all his immediate customer base, would have a hard time developing a platform that could not be shut down. I'm not arguing, I'm trying to understand.

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author

Not at all. It's a fair point.

Obviously, if a company wants to try to compete against Facebook it will have to have features or some other experience that will attract sufficient investment to engage in that competition. And that's not easy. But it is the way of every other industry. Want to compete with Nike? Better come ready. Want to compete with Kellogg? Hope you've got deep pockets.

Utilities are different because their underlying infrastructure is unique ... you can only run so many water pipes or fiberoptic cables to one home. Social media competition is not bound by physical limitations like this.

In the end, if an upstart social media platform cannot attract sufficient investment or users, that's ultimately a market decision -- not a market failure. And, in and of itself, doesn't justify calling these platforms "public utilities."

It raises other questions about antitrust, etc., but that's a different topic.

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Feb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen

I guess I'm barking up the wrong tree. I love free markets. But social media has become indispensable (I hate having to say that. It seems more like admitting human failure). Is that not part of the equation when evaluating a monopoly? It is common knowledge that they all collude to take advantage of that monopoly. And when I think of monopoly, I think of AT&T which was a phone company. Why is that not in the realm of public concern? NPR and PBS,( anachronisms today) were created, I thought, to make sure this kind of thing did NOT happen.

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I don't necessarily disagree with the regulation viewpoint but rather hesitant on regulation since it implies more federal employees and thus increasing the size of government.

I think the private citizen should be able to sue big tech, perhaps with a class action suit; pretty sure there are enough citizens that would have a case.

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If you can get it started, I'll join!

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RemovedFeb 19, 2021Liked by Klon Kitchen
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Thanks, Mark!

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