Is It Time to Regulate Big Tech? That Would Surely Be A Mistake
As Facebook's data scandal woes grow, common calls are increasing for the social media company (and other tech giants) to be more heavily regulated by the federal government. But would that be the best way to handle the problems that result from how these companies are operating?
Technology scholar Mark Jamison believes that there are better options than more government control, especially in the areas of the content of speech. If the federal government is given the power to regulate content on social media platforms, it opens up a Pandora's box of potential abuses of power at the hands of the regulators.
Jamison says these companies need to be held accountable, but offers an alternative for which entity is best for that job.
Should sites like Facebook be held accountable for their site's content? Yes... by their customers. Customers know more about the good and bad of the content than do government regulators, and government regulators have their own agendas and biases. So we should proceed cautiously before regulating content.
For issues like Facebook's handling of personal information, the solution is not to regulate. In a few years, Blockchain technology will make any sort of laws obsolete regarding data collection and distribution. Because of the rate of change in the digital age, the best solutions to the problems that pop up may come from the industry itself in due time.
There is also opposition to companies like Amazon and Walmart who have a fairly large portion of the retail market, just as Facebook and Google control large portions of many people's personal information. Is it the government's job to "break-up" these companies?
Should the government break up big tech? That makes no practical sense. Which of your friends do you want kicked off Facebook? Do you want your Google searches diverted to Ask.com? Or your Amazon purchases diverted to Walmart? If the government did break up one or more companies, customer choice would put them back together.
What are your thoughts on Jamison's assessment of the situation? What are some other ways that consumers can act as agents of accountability? Share your thoughts with us!