The Google-Facebook duopoly threatens diversity of thought

“‘A monopoly on the means of communication,’ Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote in Leviathan, their 1975 novel, ‘may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of ‘monopoly in the means of production,”” Mark Epstein writes in an Op-Ed for The Wall Street Journal. “Bear that in mind when you hear this next statistic: In 2017 Google and Facebook have accounted for 84% of all digital advertising outside China, including 96% of its growth, according to an industry forecast this month from Zenith, Magna and GroupM.”

“Those figures should create more than the typical economic concerns about market concentration. Specifically, the tech duopoly’s dominance threatens the marketplace of ideas,” Epstein writes. “Beyond advertising, Google and Facebook control how millions of people find their news. Americans are far likelier, collectively, to encounter articles via search engines and social media than on a news site’s home page.”

“One political blog that posted an article trying to distinguish the ‘alt-right’ from white nationalism received a warning email from Google’s AdSense team. An editor took the article down, explaining to readers that the blog ‘needs revenue from the Google ad platform in order to survive.’ You needn’t agree with the editorial decision to publish the article to be troubled by Google’s vetoing it,'” Epstein writes. “Journalists also argue that tech companies are pushing media toward the lowest common denominator. Social media rewards clickbait—sensational headlines that confirm readers’ biases. Google and Facebook’s advertising duopoly bleeds traditional publishers of the revenue needed to produce high-quality news. At the same time, Google’s search engine is biased against subscription content, depleting another source of funding.”

“The bottom line is that Google’s and Facebook’s advertising policies and algorithms make it less profitable to produce high-quality journalism from any perspective,” Epstein writes. “Their duopoly also gives tech executives the power to defund and block content they personally object to without taking a major hit to the bottom line.”

Read more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

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.

If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try!

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.MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017

Former Facebook exec: Facebook is ‘destroying how society works’ – December 11, 2017
Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party – November 16, 2016
WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
EU alleges Google skews search results to boost its own products and services – July 14, 2016
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
U.S. FTC report details how Google skewed search results in its own favor – March 20, 2015
The FTC’s missed opportunity on Google – January 4, 2013
Google to settle U.S. FTC antitrust probe, sources say – January 2, 2013
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
Wired: Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010


    1. Section 1:
      “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.”
      Section 2:
      “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony…”

      1. Down voted by name I presume.
        Hope to hell it’s not down voted for the message or we are in much trouble.

        Silicon Valley is suffering from the worst of this. “If it an’t Google searched or on Social Media, it gets ignored.” So smart they are clueless.

  1. Connect the dots folks. For more than a dozen years we didn’t need “net neutrality”. Then in 2015, after hundreds and hundreds of visits by VIP’s from dualopolists (word?) Facebook and Google to meet with the Obama Administration, handcuffs were placed on companies which could threaten their mighty ad revenue streams. Net neutrality regulation was born.

    Regulations are bad for innovation. Try to think out of the box. Just because the ISP’s “can” or “could” throttle the Internet DOES NOT mean they will. In our history, any time a company did something like this, a disruptor appeared. That’s what freedom is all about (no handcuffs from an over-reach from Washington).

    With “net neutrality”, the government doesn’t allow the little guy to compete with CEO’s and presidents of mammoth advertising monopolies like FaceBook and Google.

    1. I liked it SOOO much better when the snowflakes I wanted to make fun of were liberals.

      “Nyah nyah no one listens to my conservative views, so instead of creating the next greater more OPEN Google for Facebook, I’ll just whine like a powerless liberal… waaaaah!”

      “Just because the ISP’s “can” or “could” throttle the Internet DOES NOT mean they will.”
      You sound about as logical as the person that states “Just because this fellow I’m letting out of prison ‘can’ or ‘could’ commit another crime DOES NOT mean they will.” That was liberal “wishful thinking”. It’s sad to see conservatives falling for the same.

    2. Actually we had file transfer, file servers, email, usenet, bulletin boards, large services like compuserve and aol, the well and so on, more than 30 years ago. The web has been up for 26 years. Tim Wu invented the idea of net neutrality in 2003 and suddenly the Internet was “Broken.”

      1. Of course you are correct. I “phoned in” that 15 year thing because someone else I read had said that. I lived through the whole era. At Purdue I worked on one of the first Unix networks in 1980. I remember Bill Gates coming to the Indianapolis PC club as our monthly speaker to talk about something called “DOS”. I was too busy cloning floppies of Commodore 64 games to pay attention. The “Halt and Catch Fire” era followed by the “AOL floppy in your mailbox every day” era was a great era of disruptors. I remember being in awe at reading a “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” article on my XT with CompuServe. Wonderful memories. Where would we be without unix? If you remember the good old days, run and pickup a copy of Ready Player One and read it — great late 70’s, early 80’s fun. Spielberg is going to ruin it (just like he did with Kubrick’s AI). Sorry for rambling. At least I can admit you were correct..

      2. Actually, I haven’t had Usenet for awhile because my ISP blocks it. Since 2008.

        “Comcast, along with 17 other cable providers across the US, first announced that it would no longer offer Usenet access to subscribers in July of this year.”

        So, no, cable companies would NEVER block access… competition… blah blah. Obamasomething.

  2. Humans! Create your own diversity of information sources. Never settle for what you’re handed! It’s guaranteed to be tainted these days.

    Me: I very much enjoy watching NHK, the BBC and DW these days for non-USA filtered news. I also read blogs and news sites all over the web.

    AND I constantly educate myself from a variety of further sources. I’m not a history buff by nature. But it’s amazing how history repeats itself. ALL the abuse we’re currently suffering from, be it the abusive elitists with money and power or inside our own families has HAPPENED BEFORE! And there’s a lot to learn about how to circumvent and kill off the crap from history lessons as well.

    The starting point is:
    Bitch about it in public! I obvoiusly do. Free speech is stupendous.

    And when rectal pores like Ajit Pai, Dictator of the FCC ignore the loud majority, BITCH MORE LOUDLY AND OFTEN! Get ‘er done.

      1. Again–please, emphasis can make for good writing, but too much can tarnish credibility.
        So, I guess before 2015, we were also living within a FCC dictatorship? I guess we miraculously weathered that spell…whew!

      2. Don’t blame me for you restricting your mental input. You own your ignorance. Having people like me point it out to you is an EXCELLENT idea that I highly recommend to everyone.

        Here in the USA we live in a bone fide [look it up] IDIOCRACY with fools running the show. Be sure to get all upset when history consistently proves my point.

        EDUCATION is freedom for the mind. Get as much as you can find! Never settle for the propaganda. It’s designed to make you just another sucker.

    1. You must know that Elitists have been around for a “few yrs,” huh? Or, are we experiencing a swell we haven’t felt in a long while? These elitists, that are engorged with money & power, they’re abusing me now?
      As you proclaimed earlier, humans, “create your own diversity and info sources!” Besides being pablum and an empty bromide, are you following your own advice as it relates to these “abusing elitists?” Maybe you are settling for what you’re handed? We do hear the elitist characterizations a lot these days…including from sources that are possibly “tainted” themselves
      Your post smells of a paradigm I’ve not seen/experienced in a long time and it was born as a result of the steep hatred of a very well-known person of our day. I’m not a bettor, but I’d put some $$ down on my assumption.
      Written as I sit comfortably in a modest house, not being abused, nor in fear of those rich elitists.

      1. Elitism is as old as mankind!

        In the USA and much of the rest of the world we’re experiencing a resurgence that is blatant, loud and as idiotic as it ever was.

        Considering the evident idiocy evident in your previous Anonymous Coward reply comment, I stopped at the first paragraph of this second Anonymous Coward reply as I’ve always held that it is a waste of time arguing with a crazy person.

      1. You again, with a new Anonymous Coward avatar/nick. Sorry kid, but you can’t stop stupid. That applies to the stupid attempting to stop stupid as well. You can’t help yourself.

        Maybe you’ll mature and grow up into a thinking, considerate, humane Homo sapiens sapiens. Until then, yawn. 💤💤💤

        Thoughtful comments from those of any age are always welcome.

  3. The Google is a corporate entity. Facebook is a corporate entity. You are not REQUIRED to do business with either. I don’t.

    If you WANT to do business with them, then they are going to make you beholden to their whims. That’s the position that being successful in business gets you. AND I doubt ANY of us would work hard at growing a successful business and cede that control because someone’s bellyaching.

    If this statement is true for you
    “needs revenue from the Google ad platform in order to survive.” and you don’t like Google’s business practices, then maybe you should be in a different line of business. I hear Real Estate can be quite profitable… one of our Presidents can probably provide some pointers…

    1. The President is unlikely to provide any pointers until after the special counsel and congressional investigations go away. Even after that, he is likely to charge you for those pointers. The business of America is business.

  4. Neither Google nor Facebook are interested in freedom of speech. I can live with this. However, once government begins to stifle free speech and punish free speech then we all should be concerned. It’s happening in Europe and Canada, folks.

    1. What if Comcast isn’t interested in free speech? The government was FORCING them to provide free speech in ways like equal access to both Breitbart and huffpost. They paid BIG money… money they COULD have been using on infrastructure OR paying their employees better OR improving customer service to remove the rule FORCING them to behave.

      They saw a money making opportunity and you’d better believe they’re going to make it one 🙂

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