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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:09 am 
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Shocking isn't it? who would have thought a massive company with a free platform would be doing something to make a profit.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:04 am 
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It is shocking because people have final noticed. Not that they really care. The next insta-snap-chat-book photo with a cute kitten or big breasted model will distract.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:45 pm 
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R S wrote:
Shocking isn't it? who would have thought a massive company with a free platform would be doing something to make a profit.


I just laugh. The whole "corporate greed" thing is largely based on the fact many people think they are getting gouged (because they don't understand economics or the definition of "gouged") at, basically, any price for the service. But they LOVE Google and Facebook because they get a lot for "free".

I do think Google and Facebook, and probably Amazon, should be broken up. Now I'm a free markets guy, but that theory is based on assumptions that don't always exist in pure form in the real world (such as limited barriers to entry, fully informed & rational consumers, etc). On the other hand. Facebook trounced a couple other social media before it and may not be entirely secure on its perch. Google crushed most the other search engines, and while far and away the most popular there are still a lot of options. Apple is doing very well, obviously (after Jobs came back to rescue it), but Google & Android is still eating their lunch.

When you see Google, Facebook and Amazon leveraging their platform into other verticals, that's when we need to take notice. My biggest concern is their ability to essentially make the news, picking winners & losers based on what they deem is real or fake. Very liberal organizations that can have a profound impact on elections if left unchecked.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:51 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
It is shocking because people have final noticed. Not that they really care. The next insta-snap-chat-book photo with a cute kitten or big breasted model will distract.


But it's probably a good thing to get ads targeted to you that are very relevant and of interest.

People are just alarmed to discover that same technology can (and has) been used to influence and shape what you know and believe. But truthfully that's only an issue if one chooses to be lazy and ignorant and cocoon themselves inside a bubble.

Of course, the above assumes Google search isn't driven by an agenda....if, for example, they were to filter any result from the "lukewarm" climate change crowd then we'd all be furiously peddling our bicycles a lot more. Although, technically, that wouldn't prevent one from reading the papers that did result and seeing the science for what it actually is. But most people don't have the training/background to do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:58 pm 
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I agree with Kodiak. A breakup is better than regulation. Any regulation that Zuck is suggesting will benefit him and hurt competitors and he has paid off a number of reps with contributions. It's the same as Dodd-Frank...it benefitted the investment banks after they caused the crisis. Would have been better to break them up. Too big to fail is too big to exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:50 pm 
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Dan Smith--BYU wrote:
Any regulation that Zuck is suggesting will benefit him and hurt competitors and he has paid off a number of reps with contributions.


And it was a very self-serving admission. "Regulate me, and it will only hurt my competition....[don't regulate me and it will only help my bottom line because I can have no competition]"

Years ago in grad school we studied Amazon. The takeaway was that market is essentially only big enough for one player, meaning economy of scale/size is such a huge advantage that no one else would be able to compete. I don't think the argument is terribly different for Google and Facebook.

Or you can look at the PC industry - essentially just MS and Apple OS, with a little linux for the rebels. I don't think that's been much of a problem. But the difference with Google, Facebook and Twitter is the very real danger that they can censor views they disagree with. That is their right as private companies....but now maybe this is a place to [legitimately] talk about public utilities and an open internet.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:33 pm 
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I agree. If Ma Bell and Standard Oil could be broken up so can these tech behemoths. Regulation is what they actually want.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:20 pm 
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Dan Smith--BYU wrote:
I agree. If Ma Bell and Standard Oil could be broken up so can these tech behemoths. Regulation is what they actually want.


I bet Google knows people better than they know themselves. Just think about all the services you're using. The average person who takes no steps to privacy - Google probably has an almost 24/7 picture of that person's life and people around them.

Even if you don't sign in to Chrome and give Google basically your entire web history (including postings on Steelerfury!), if you're not using a VPN they probably already know your IP from a variety of other sources and thus can still piece together your entire web history.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:46 am 
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Kodiak wrote:
Dan Smith--BYU wrote:
Any regulation that Zuck is suggesting will benefit him and hurt competitors and he has paid off a number of reps with contributions.


And it was a very self-serving admission. "Regulate me, and it will only hurt my competition....[don't regulate me and it will only help my bottom line because I can have no competition]"

Years ago in grad school we studied Amazon. The takeaway was that market is essentially only big enough for one player, meaning economy of scale/size is such a huge advantage that no one else would be able to compete. I don't think the argument is terribly different for Google and Facebook.

Or you can look at the PC industry - essentially just MS and Apple OS, with a little linux for the rebels. I don't think that's been much of a problem. But the difference with Google, Facebook and Twitter is the very real danger that they can censor views they disagree with. That is their right as private companies....but now maybe this is a place to [legitimately] talk about public utilities and an open internet.


I would disagree in the point that Google and Facebook are selling information ( like Equafax and TransAmerica) and eye space (advertisements). All of them use you to get your clicks to sell your information to other retailers. They are like television that can look and listen into your house.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:52 am 
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How exactly would you break up facebook? I can see how that could be done with Google and Amazon. They have multiple business lines/products. Although honestly, some of these big tech companies have actually brought competition to other industries that previously looked very much like monopolies and duopolies.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:29 pm 
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SteelPro wrote:
How exactly would you break up facebook?


Basically think of Facebook in terms of connected modules - news, pictures, video, messages and timeline. So we'd say Facebook can be like a hub or UI, but not control any actual content. Then you restrict the amount of user info that can be shared between different apps, that deliver the content, and between apps and Facebook. In this model, Facebook is not a publisher - they don't choose and deliver your news, but rather you choose a provider to generate your news feed.

And when you look at it that way, you also see that Facebook is actually just a combined platform that does have competition. But, like Amazon, there's a huge demand for that integrated platform and market dynamics such that "there can be only one".

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:37 pm 
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While fake news is a big problem, stupid people is a bigger problem.

So I get really concerned when I discussions about how Google, Facebook, etc. should "deal" with fake news.....because it's only ever a problem when people are stupid and lazy, and otherwise sounds suspiciously like an assault on free speech.

What would the criteria be? What if some nobody expressed an opinion that was certifiably wrong (like saying atmospheric CO2 hasn't increased)....does that opinion get effectively erased from the internet? What about someone ranting about astronomically unlikely (but not impossible) threats from GMOs? Basically disaster porn - do we delete that from the internet or tag it with a science fiction label?

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:33 am 
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Breakup is not the answer for these companies. How will breaking up a company that collects and sells your private data help? Just spreads the data out to more DB opening up more vectors of attack. This is not AT&T tht can be broken into baby bells. Each with their own physical infrastructure to control. This is about data collection and then the selling of you. Regulation of how they use your private data should be the answer. This encompasses companies like Equafax and Transamaerica that sell your financial data.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:58 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
This is about data collection and then the selling of you. Regulation of how they use your private data should be the answer.


But that alone might not be enough to ensure privacy. If you regulate/ban the selling of private data, that just makes Google and Facebook that much more valuable. If you really want to ensure more privacy, you ALSO will have to break-up some of these companies. It's all the different verticals they have that gives them a 24/7 picture of your life. And so if we don't want anyone to have that kind of info, you HAVE to break them up (in addition to regulating how privacy data can be shared).

Sure, Google search would have plenty of information about you. But when combined with Gmail, Chrome and other apps one company now has a much more complete picture of you. Signed into Chrome (or just not using a vpn), Google can basically scrape EVERYTHING you do online.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:11 am 
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Kodiak wrote:
SteelPro wrote:
How exactly would you break up facebook?


Basically think of Facebook in terms of connected modules - news, pictures, video, messages and timeline. So we'd say Facebook can be like a hub or UI, but not control any actual content. Then you restrict the amount of user info that can be shared between different apps, that deliver the content, and between apps and Facebook. In this model, Facebook is not a publisher - they don't choose and deliver your news, but rather you choose a provider to generate your news feed.

And when you look at it that way, you also see that Facebook is actually just a combined platform that does have competition. But, like Amazon, there's a huge demand for that integrated platform and market dynamics such that "there can be only one".


So the solution is to outlaw hugely demanded platforms? I find most of this discussion crazy talk. Yes, there has been some misuse of data and some of these companies have been poor stewards of it. But they are solving some incredibly complex problems too and changing the world for the better. Amazon competition isn’t killing retail. It is changing it and forcing the survivors to be far more efficient and thus lowering consumer costs. Giving companies huge amounts of data helps them figure out what you want. I like people that want to give me what I want! The solutions proposed here are the same innovation stifling ideas that always happens when government gets heavy handed with regulating business practices. Regulation should be a light touch not an Fn jack hammer.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:12 pm 
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SteelPro wrote:
So the solution is to outlaw hugely demanded platforms? I find most of this discussion crazy talk....Regulation should be a light touch not an Fn jack hammer.


It's a lot more complex than that. There are a number of tests/questions to answer in deciding if breaking up a monopoly is warranted. The big one here is privacy, or consumer welfare.

But there are also difficult questions to answer around competition. Are Facebook and Google really keeping a level playing field with respect to things like news, video and other services? These guys are getting heavy into the content game, and we've seen with cable companies and wireless carriers some pretty underhanded anti-competitive practices to favor their own content.

Most economists would agree that companies using their size to stifle competition is normally not a good thing for consumers.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:23 pm 
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Kodiak wrote:
SteelPro wrote:
So the solution is to outlaw hugely demanded platforms? I find most of this discussion crazy talk....Regulation should be a light touch not an Fn jack hammer.


It's a lot more complex than that. There are a number of tests/questions to answer in deciding if breaking up a monopoly is warranted. The big one here is privacy, or consumer welfare.

But there are also difficult questions to answer around competition. Are Facebook and Google really keeping a level playing field with respect to things like news, video and other services? These guys are getting heavy into the content game, and we've seen with cable companies and wireless carriers some pretty underhanded anti-competitive practices to favor their own content.

Most economists would agree that companies using their size to stifle competition is normally not a good thing for consumers.


I think most of the arguments you are making are theoretical and based on fear. I don’t see where competition has been stifled or consumers have been hurt at all. In fact, I would say it has been the opposite. The data privacy issues are a different matter. And we probably need some type of new government agency to provide some guidelines for data governance. Big tech doesn’t belong within the purview of existing agencies that are now almost 100 years old.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:14 pm 
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SteelPro wrote:
I think most of the arguments you are making are theoretical and based on fear.


I would have gone with "based on economics and history", but ok.

SteelPro wrote:
I don’t see where competition has been stifled or consumers have been hurt at all. In fact, I would say it has been the opposite. The data privacy issues are a different matter. And we probably need some type of new government agency to provide some guidelines for data governance. Big tech doesn’t belong within the purview of existing agencies that are now almost 100 years old.


But privacy is a huge, huge issue. Google and Facebook have basically a 24/7 picture of your life. Regulation alone will not be enough. You're actually making an argument for more govt intervention than I am. You're essentialy arguing for internal chinese walls, while I'm saying a different company in a different location is far superior in protecting the information you're trying to with regulation alone.

Competition hasn't been stifled? How would you know? They buy up all their competition. That's a textbook example of how monopolies maintain their monopoly.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:07 am 
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People have willingly given away their data. The data collected by Cambridge Analytical had a disclaimer saying that their data might be sold to 3rd parties.

IT IS FACEBOOK'S BUSINESS MODEL! If you use Facebook, your data can be used and sold. If you wanted to pay FB for the right to use their APIs, you could harvest the same data. all you need is a bit of social engineering to make a survey that people will fill out.

I have more of a complaint about Equafax and their ilk. Not protecting private data should be a death sentence for companies. It has become so common that everyone just shrugs and posts a picture of their breakfast to twitter.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:12 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
People have willingly given away their data. The data collected by Cambridge Analytical had a disclaimer saying that their data might be sold to 3rd parties.

IT IS FACEBOOK'S BUSINESS MODEL! If you use Facebook, your data can be used and sold. If you wanted to pay FB for the right to use their APIs, you could harvest the same data. all you need is a bit of social engineering to make a survey that people will fill out.

I have more of a complaint about Equafax and their ilk. Not protecting private data should be a death sentence for companies. It has become so common that everyone just shrugs and posts a picture of their breakfast to twitter.


100

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 6:33 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
People have willingly given away their data. The data collected by Cambridge Analytical had a disclaimer saying that their data might be sold to 3rd parties.

IT IS FACEBOOK'S BUSINESS MODEL! If you use Facebook, your data can be used and sold.



True, but it's practically a public utility. Give them your data or be a social misfit. You absolutely should have an option of paying them not to use or release your data....but that's a problem for their model.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:50 pm 
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This is not at all creepy and terrifying:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/1734 ... ta-privacy

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 8:03 am 
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Dan Smith--BYU wrote:
This is not at all creepy and terrifying:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/1734 ... ta-privacy


Well, since Kodiak thinks that the options are either to sign up to Facebook and handover data or be a social misfit, I’d say the social engineering is working quite nicely for them in respect of at least some people. :shock:

I’m a misfit: never had and never will have a social media account of any kind. Simply uninitersyed in spending time on such a platform. Unless you count SteelerFury. :D

But yeah: it’s fucking creepy.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 8:11 am 
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Kodiak wrote:
jebrick wrote:
People have willingly given away their data. The data collected by Cambridge Analytical had a disclaimer saying that their data might be sold to 3rd parties.

IT IS FACEBOOK'S BUSINESS MODEL! If you use Facebook, your data can be used and sold.



True, but it's practically a public utility. Give them your data or be a social misfit. You absolutely should have an option of paying them not to use or release your data....but that's a problem for their model.


Facebook is in no way a public utility. The ISPs would become utilities ( and should ) well before facebook or google.

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 Post subject: Re: Break up the robber baron tech companies
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 10:39 am 
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Facebook is a stupidity magnet. The thing to do with Facebook is leave or never sign up, and I never did.

Google is more problematic. It certainly is a monopoly in terms of search and YouTube. YouTube is the best university on the planet, BTW, if used properly, and it's free.

The ISPs already are regulated like utilities. What I don't understand is all the fucking mergers after the ATT breakup in 1984.

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