U.S. Senate Democrat Al Franken decries Facebook’s and Google’s ‘unprecedented’ control of the press

“Al Franken has again raised alarms about how Facebook and Google are misusing the ‘unprecedented power’ they wield over how the public gets information,” Steve Dent reports for Engadget.

“In a speech yesterday, he pointed out that while the firms control 75 percent of all news traffic referrals, both allowed Russia to interfere in US politics despite obvious signals,” Dent reports. “‘The government has a responsibility to ensure that these corporations do not endanger our national security, our democracy or our fundamental freedoms,’ Franken said.”

“‘The content creators that rely on [those] platforms to reach consumers have lost all their leverage,’ he said. ‘Google, Facebook and Amazon have used their algorithms to extract unfair terms and fees from those dependent on their platforms,'” Dent reports. “A recent example of that is Facebook’s recent “pay to play” experiment that relegated publisher’s articles in six markets from the main News Feed to a harder-to-reach area called the Explore Feed. That caused a stark drop in organic traffic for sites in those countries, something that would force publishers to make up the deficit by buying ads instead. Facebook said that it wasn’t planning on releasing the service globally, but many publishers found the mere presence of the test alarming.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote in July 2016:

Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that had not only monopolized web search (and, thereby, basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled the bulk of online advertising dollars which funded your business and which they could pull, simply threaten to pull, or reduce rates at any time? Now also imagine if you believe this monopolist basically stole the product of another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopolist thief’s business practices?

You might guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We’re only imagining, of course!)

That would be a good example of why monopolies are bad for everyone.

The U.S. government has utterly failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so currently are corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the European Union will help to correct the situation.

In the meantime, stop using Google search and Google products wherever possible. Monopolies are bad for everyone.

With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t.


            1. wrong again

              Democrats have NOT had control of the virginia state legislature for 17 years

              Prior to this election republicans had a 34 seat majority, ie TWICE as many republican legislatures as democrats

              shocking change thanks to potus

            2. drop some more acid, punk…THIS is reality, you have lost:
              • The White House
              • The Senate
              • The House
              • The Supreme Court
              • The Governorships
              • The State Houses

              you powerless, impotent and rejected.

            3. Exactly

              and the SINGLE piece of non trivial legislation they have passed is a sanctions bill against the Russians,

              for which trump has long since missed the legislation’s own deadline for implementation.

              ALL of which is why the wave of defeat has already begun

            4. “ALL of which is why the wave of defeat has already begun”

              You reading comic books like NYT or watching CNN?

              Are you talking about the Republican “wave” winning 4-0 in special Congressional elections since Trump took office?

              No, you are talking about two Democrat governorship victories in Blue States that polls and everyone knew beforehand would win hands down.

              The overreacting “wave” you speak of could not flood a birdbath. The Democrat Party is on the cusp of destruction and I don’t blame you for not being informed. The MSM is negligent in reporting the facts and their ignorance, or is it their strategic avoidance, will NOT change the facts. Cheerleading and ignorance only goes so far …

            5. Virginia is a blue state, NJ is too. In both cases Democrats won blue states. Nothing more to it than that. There are far too few blue states to give national power back to the unpopular Democrat Party. The GOP is no bed of roses admittedly but they are not as despised as the Democrats. If the GOP is able to pass some legislation they will be fine in 2018.

          1. Well then, you can minus close to 20 seats from the over 1,200 Republican seat wins since 2010.

            The news is not that two Democrat governors won in overwhelming Blue States. The real news would have been if Republicans won what was clearly NOT expected, ya know, like Trump last year.

            The more important wins in the last year when Republicans went 4-0 in key Congressional races on the national, not the state level. Still, a win is a win and enjoy.

            The real losers are the out of control BIASED MEDIA now making all kind of negative Republican predictions how nothing will get done in Washington, everything in Trump’s agenda is in jeopardy, will lose Congress a year from now, on and on for days. Absolutely ridiculous based on two governor races just about everyone knew the Democrats would win hands down.

            Now, if you are a fair and balanced thinker, particularly when it comes to the media, consider this: how many stories did you read day after day when Republicans won four straight congressional wins, hmmm?

            Where were the 24/7 stories for a week what GOOD NEWS this means for Trump and Republicans in the 2018 mid-terms? How many stories of that type did you read?

            The media is biased …

    1. I also like the whole “Russia to interfere in US politics” which is a ridiculous scape goat campaign for Hillary and Democrats that do not want to accept responsibility for rigging election primaries against Bernard Sanders, as well as for their corrupt dealings with Russians, so they are trying to project it on Trump. (To be clear, I am not a Trump supporter, but critiques of him have to be based on reality, not on the DNC-pushed neo-MacCarthyite conspiracy theory.)

      1. Exactly right and Troy said the same in greater detail. Trump has destroyed the stranglehold of disinformation from the Democrat Party and MSM. They only care about THEMSELVES and their PETTY POWER. A long time cometh …

  1. Which of these (2) parties are more “EVIL” and or “CORRUPT”?

    Have not seen or heard of Eric T. Mole recently …… iWonder WHY? Maybe hanging with the HilldaBeast and her cronies scheming up the next way to bilk the snot out of the uneducated and selling out to the lobbyist and media dregs. What a pathetic excuse for humanity.

    D Delusional
    N Narcissistic
    C Cocksuckers

    FCK The System.

  2. I’ll weigh in on this topic from a unique perspective as someone who owns a couple of small weekly newspapers . . .

    I’m by no means a technophobe. I embrace technology and continue to. I’ll be honest, I thought I saw “the future” 15 to 20 years ago and perhaps put a bit too much faith in humanity about where it would lead us. I thought the tools would enhance humanity in nearly every facet. I accepted as I went from writer/photographer to publisher about 10 years ago that there was going to be an expensive transition in which we’d have to be prepared to invest in both physical and digital products . . . but I confess I couldn’t foresee the current landscape. Social media has introduced chaos into the news realm, which goes beyond national information. Even in small markets where trust has never been anything but a cornerstone, we feel it. Further, it was unfathomable to me a decade ago even as Google had built such momentum that search would become so controlled by one company, or that Facebook would essentially become a browser and content feeder, making its users and content providers beholden to ‘algorithms’ versus choice. It’s a mess, and I don’t just mean in a quite real fiscal sense. I mean that in a very practical sense. I often tell my most wry friends (the ones that find joking joy in that a younger person like myself has invested into a “dying industry”) that news consumption is like a pendulum of trust. There are times in our history when news agencies were at the receiving end of that trust…and times like now when “fake news” is viewed as if it were an equal product of the professionals…and that if we just keep doing what we’re doing on my small staffs — which is to report honestly, thoroughly, and with the highest degree of integrity the compromise of time and resources allows — that we will not only survive but we will thrive. The pendulum will swing our way. I have no idea how you will overcome this current landscape with legislation . . . what you need to do is just do a really good f^%#ing job every single day and make it so that your market can’t possibly ignore you. If they do, well, then I can look myself in the mirror as I move onto something else.

  3. What he is decrying is that his bought and paid for. CNN, ABC, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, LA TIMES, NY TIMES, ATLANTIC, and so on and so forth are nowhere near as effective at spreading filthy DNC lies and propaganda as social media is at spreading equal amounts of crap from all sources.

    Franken’s complaint alone is enough to make me say hands off social media. We the people are smarter than he thinks.

    I listened to a friend of mine just yesterday. He is Mexican, formerly illegal alien. I listened as he denigrated Trum for a solid 10 minutes. He wasn’t quoting the crap you read on social media, he was spitting out network tv propaganda, about how Trump is the leader of the white supremacists and kkk and so on. He sees white supremacists everywhere now. He thinks the guy who coached soccer when his son was young is a white supremacist.

    His mind is gone. It’s complete CNN mush now. Every white man who ever annoyed him is a white supremacist. When I ask him what his evidence is of Trump being a white supremacist, he says “Just look at him!”

    it hit me that CNN breeds racism. Give me Facebook, Google, and Twitter any day.

    1. Every member working in professional media should view this video and be a requirement from their employers at their yearly review.

      Parallel construction example it was a media employer requirement in the 1990s to attend diversity classes. Today, it should evolve into truth, justice and the unbiased American way media classes …

  4. Oh but the DOJ has PLENTY of resources and time to go after non-monopolist Apple in an eBook monopoly case on behalf of an actual eBook Amazon monopolist.

    The government loves the shiny and green things evil companies dangle out there to distract them with to go away.

  5. Esquire Magazine is running an article this month, available online, that allows prominent liberals to relive the night of Donald Trump’s election.

    It would seem that for these oh so delicate members of society that the election of Donald Trump compares with the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, or Pearl Harbor or 911. What they were doing, where they were, what they were eating, who they were with is forever burned into their memories like the worst disasters in American history.

    As you read through the recollections of crestfallen dispair, people asking themselves if they can remain in the country, gays declaring that he (Trump) will never take their wedding rings away and other such pitiful sentiments, and uncontrollable sobbing, take note these are in many cases members of the mainstream news media!

    Is there any wonder people trust social media more than MSM? The mainstream media is crap.

  6. Are they still crying because they lost the elections? or this is just cringe because they are not in control of all media and people have a way to get the real truth from Independent sources and not just from the fake news controlled media?

  7. Google and Facebook only have ‘power’ because people choose to use them for one reason or another over the readily available alternatives. Unlike utility/cable companies in many areas there is choice for the consumer if they are willing to wean themselves away from Google and FB.

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