Richard Epstein examines the merits of the antitrust case against Google, as well as calls to regulate how social media companies regulate content; looks back to the Microsoft antitrust case to explain what lessons it may hold for the current lawsuit; and makes his predictions for the trajectory of tech regulation under Biden or Trump administrations.

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  1. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Richard,

    Exhibit 1 from the latest post by Breitbart.

    Facebook Releases Report on Fight Against ‘Inauthentic Behavior’

    Social media giant Facebook has outlined its efforts to fight “inauthentic behavior” on the platform. The company claims that financial gain is the primary motivator for what it describes as “an effort to mislead people.”

    In a recently released “inauthentic behavior” report, Facebook outlined some of its recent attempts to prevent the spread of misinformation across its platform. The report outlines attempts often by foreign bodies to influence American users and groups.

    Facebook defines inauthentic behavior as “an effort to mislead people or Facebook about the popularity of content, the purpose of a community (i.e.Groups, Pages, Events), or the identity of the people behind it. It also includes behaviors designed to mislead Facebook and evade the controls and limits we place on the use of our platforms.”

    This is an example of the gross abusive power of the “platforms”. This new policy (not that different from older policies) is so vague that it can be used to censor anybody. Of course, as they are not a governmental body subject to oversight or the law they could change this policy in a thousand different ways tomorrow morning giving nobody any warning whatsoever.

    For me the obvious solution to this kind of abusive power is to use the platform status of Facebook, Google… etc. to force them to end all editorializing policies, to make all of their policies completely transparent, and to be forced to announce any change in policy in advance giving people time to raise objections on material grounds. Non-compliance will automatically remove their “platform” protection and make them vulnerable to anyone who wants to sue them.

    Given that my suggestion has not been taken by Congress, frustration is reaching a fever pitch. Google is manipulating their search engine and censoring YouTube. These are editorializing policies that make them a publisher and not a platform. However, anti-trust is a convenient brute force club to smash Google with. The frustration is too great and Google, Facebook, & Twitter must realize that this club may make a direct hit on them.

    I am sick of this merry-go-round. I have tried to be as positive as possible but it’s not working. To be blunt, I don’t care anymore whether or not Google gets smashed into a 100 pieces. I don’t care anymore whether this is really a good stewardship policy for the industry or not. I am sick of the Orwellian bullsh*t.

    Regards,

    Jim

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  2. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Trump should sign an executive order, no more H1B visas to Silicon Valley, no more employees from China

     

    • #2