Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Proposals to break up big social media companies could jeopardize user-generated content

There are rather interesting modest proposals in Europe to collar American media companies, which could take root here later.

For example, consider the article by Luigi Zingales and Guy Rolnik, “A Way to Own Your Social Media Data”.  One idea is to consider the meta-data behind your Internet use sold to marketeers as your “property right”, transferrable if you move to a different social media company.  This would supposedly encourage more competition with companies like Facebook.  It sounds rather pseudo-libertaian.

Back in April, Jonathan Taplin authored an op-ed “Is it time to break up Google?” and probably Facebook.  Besides some comparison to phone companies (very relevant to discussions of network neutrality abolition going on right now) and their previous past lives as “regulated monopolies” during my own coming of age, Taplin suggests abolishing DMCA “Safe Harbor” (and probably Section 230), which he says would force Google/YouTube and others to “pay” users for content they post.  Guess what?  No more self-publishing for free.  That has been my whole “business model” for 20 years.  I guess I took a real chance.

In the meantime, there are a couple of important WSJ articles about European pressure on big social media companies, such as about Germany’s demands on deleting hate-speech (which can cast a rather larger dragnet)   Fox has a story by Sam Schnechner et al about EU pressure on major social media companies and their supposed free ride to profits.  That’s what makes user-generated content possible.

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