“‘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 recommended – 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.
If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try! https://duckduckgo.com
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