Europe, China, Australia and even U.S. States and Congress are making some serious strides in new antitrust regulation that could hit its peak in 2021, or at last come into more assertive action.
With new levels of social media censorship occurring, it also bodes poorly for the prospect of these “click-bait” platforms. Namely what Google has done with the entire SEO structure of the world wide web that introduces bad actor incentives.
Oddly, it’s Europe and China that seem to be leading the movement of antitrust regulations that would help stimulate global innovation. The U.S. seems very much behind in this regard, as well as the environment and green technology movement.
Europe is not what it once was, especially post pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that their morality has been corrupted. If adopted, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) will have repercussions for digital service providers both in the EU and outside it.
The regulations would essentially hold tech companies responsible for any illegal behavior on their platforms. This will stimulate places like Australia and others to follow suit.
While India has banned many Chinese apps and platforms in 2020, China is itself taking a harder stance on its own first-wave technology monopolies such as Alibaba and Tencent. The Ant Group IPO was halted, and more regulation will follow.
The FTC going after Facebook and Google in 2021 is a massive undertaking but with doubtful results, as the U.S. has a considerable shadow state control. As global monopolies get bigger the idea of a digital tax against them will only ramp up, as inequality continues and as privacy online is completely eroded.
Silicon Valley’s chief contribution was to put digital advertising at the center of its business model, but while short-term profits result in the short term, it’s not a system that favors the consumer or the user. China’s ability to create an internet that fosters services, utilities and empowers small businesses with increased mobile innovation will, at this rate, overtake the U.S.’s version of the internet globally by 2040.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the new rules are more symbolic if anything. Dominant tech companies will have to explain how their algorithms work under proposed new EU rules and also open up their ad archives to regulators and researchers. However as Chinese and American tech companies become bigger, they will be even more difficult to regulate or break up.
The reality is Google, Facebook and Apple can afford to pay fines that are more like speeding tickets. Even companies like Amazon are not responding to a request for information by the California government. Google hasn’t even altered its behavior in the face of European fines, historically.
Who is to say that Microsoft’s acquisitions of platforms like LinkedIn and Github have not been anti-competitive? Certainly the amount of data that Microsoft is able to get as the dominant enterprise software company makes even challengers like Salesforce at a severe disadvantage. Just look at Slack vs. Microsoft Teams to better understand how this isn’t free market capitalism at work any longer.
When you acquire monopolies in their industries, such as LinkedIn and GitHub were, aren’t you conducting anti-competitive practices? Microsoft should be ashamed of itself, especially with older employees who you would think had a conscience.
The censorship we have seen on Twitter and Facebook in 2020 is the beginning of a very poor trend for freedom of information online. Facebook cannot even keep up with the amount of hate speech that occurs on its platform, whose algorithms incentivize extreme sentiment content to get higher engagement.
Part of this is how suggestions to Facebook Groups occur which are echo chambers that damage the mental health of users. The digital Ad model favors a clickbait internet that degrades society and gamifies users trapped in pointless digital dopamine behavior loops.
What we need are valid alternatives to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and so forth. With the emergence of you.com, a more ethical search that is not Ads based is being envisioned. This new search engine has been made by former Salesforce chief scientist Richard Socher, in a world where consumer search is plagued with clickbait content for monetary gains through advertising.
You.com is looking to provide a valid alternative and to be a trusted search platform with privacy controls, legit reviews, and AI-driven comprehensive results. The search engine is reportedly built using advanced natural language processing for refined relevant search results without having to rely on advertising. But how do you compete against Google? Interestingly Amazon has in the past five years disrupted Google in product search.
In 2020, we saw the rise of TikTok which has over 100 million users in the United States that will disrupt Instagram with more immersive stories. But how do you disrupt companies with a stranglehold on advertising who own the rules of how the western internet works? Google and Facebook alone have damaged the internet which will be replaced by China’s model of surveillance capitalism in the long-term.
In 2021 we will see movements that culminate in the breaking up of companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and others into more regulated parts that don’t disrupt the future of American innovation. However most analysts remain skeptical that that will even occur within our lifetime. Digital Advertising is a false business model that has created a web of bad actors, and as long as we protect a failing internet, we are weakening American innovation that enables China to overtake us.
But in the U.S. money talks, and BigTech are the money makers for investors, the illusion of freedom and the myths of free-market capitalism and democracy. The Fed stimulus to prop up the stock market in 2020 has shown how sinister the U.S. is in its manipulation of the financial system. Can we trust Congress and the FTC to regulate companies like Amazon, Google or Facebook in 2021?
For the future of tech regulation, when we have to turn to Margrethe Vestager for an ethical stance, you know ethics around AI in America is in trouble. Where is the open market free competition in capitalism in a world of the U.S. and China? As they get bigger Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook are showing they care less and less about people.
To keep up, companies like Microsoft, Tesla and Apple are having to resort to the same monopolistic behavior. Is this the future of capitalism we want in terms of equality, freedom of expression and how we treat workers?
You don’t have to be a knuckle head to realize there’s something very broken with how technology is regulated in Silicon Valley and Washington in particular. This leads to China becoming more innovative each year as compared with the U.S. from 2021 onwards.