During the hearing session of Senate & Judiciary Committees, one of the congressman of The US Panel interrogated Facebook Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg asked him to share his details like whom he texted last and regarding what? on which Mr Zuckerberg refused to disclose as these details were private and subjected to his security that’s where the point lies in the middle of the humongous data flowing through these massively widespread digital platforms connecting billions, aren’t their accountability increases?
“I’ll probably choose not to do that” says Mark Zuckerberg, Similarly people around the world wouldn’t like to do the same. But Yes, Facebook is scanning our messages. Newspaper headlines in the morning reads how Russian Facebook ads divided and targeted US voters before 2016 elections, another one reads that Europe’s privacy watchdogs opens 11th Investigation into Facebook, reads another 10 years of privacy violations, disinformation and fake friend requests from Facebook etc.
Tech companies these days undoubtedly posses a lot of power and potentiality because of their market capital and user connectivity, easy to remember astonishing statistics but it seems easy to forget how quickly they flourished and reached at a place seems easier as earlier it have been. Google, Amazon and Facebook were all founded after 1994 and Microsoft and Apple in 1970s but their current market capital presents a contrasting picture which has nothing to do with the difference in foundation years.
Money brings power, True that but the definition of power have changed for this new breed of Global businessmen and leaders because they have your data, demonstrating “Data is the new oil” in their wealth. Due to the rise of technology this new commodity’s value in the world market have become unimaginably precious.
Without a doubt these companies have an unprecedented amount of data flowing through their portals about us. Data is perhaps the most valuable commodity in the world. Data over the years has given enormous powers to these global companies to regulate, manipulate and control over unprecedented information about billion people around the world but question is being asked that Are these companies able to responsibly handle such powers or do they have too much power?
Dominating influence of Big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon etc. over population, market is a matter of concern for the world, so a revolutionary movement have started to grow to break such tech companies. What have they actually done to reach here to such an extent? How government have planned subdue tech giants and how do these actions would affect us?
To begin with competition is good in terms of innovations, creativity, in order to make a market place and to be able to attract consumers towards their products well enough to enter every homes. In this condition everyone gets benefitted but of any company has too much share of a market it squeezes other companies, could manipulate the market policies, could possibly destroy other small competitive firms. Let’s understand by taking an earlier example of how emergence of supermarkets have submerged and unfairly reduced the demands of local shops die to their attractive discount and coupon options to the customers, drew them away from local vendors and shopkeepers. This is called as “Anti Trust”.
Immense Market Manipulation is possible if such big tech companies owns humongous market capitals and your datas as well can be the motivated factors that’s why government intervened as lawsuit filed against tech companies by the US Panel this year. Allegations on Facebook on using its power to discriminate and undermine free speech, under the course of action deleted some posts to frame political ideologies among the population. Its dangerous when you realize that your opinions are being manipulated and framed for a purpose on a platforms which is specifically for the population to express themselves.
Facebook Co-founder Charles Hughes in his statement said, “he and his board of directors have so much power over free speech. Mark owns the majority of shares on Facebook and unlike the leader in democracy there are no checks and balances in Facebook, Mark has no boss so he cannot be fired.” Several renowned universities of the world in its research have exposed the ways how Facebook monetises people’s data and goes further in this.
Recently, Facebook announced its own currency in the form of Libra coin or officially called as “Libra Cryptocurrency”. Extrapolating into the feature integration of the Libra Cryptocurrency into Facebook services could provide direct access and control to the company over the most fundamentally powerful asset that we have in society, our money. One cannot imagine the outcomes of the companies controlling not only over our datas but also over our money. Partnering with several firms could let Facebook enter into our bank accounts and smoothly into the market and of course over population.
What would happen if you wish to purchase something but couldn’t because donot own Libra coin which apparently everyone is using? One uses and other follows.
Let’s take an example of a $20 dollar note, anyone can use it whether you are a criminal, you say bad words on your social media or in general but how does Facebook policies and laws can choose to direct who can spend or one can spend this $20 dollar note? What’s happening in China that government is directing or dictating people over social media usage then situations here (US) are the same, because if Facebook is one who sets social standards then one should confirm their social behaviour in order to use this $20 rupees. No difference! (Taking reference from US panel hearing).
Apple’s policies to buy any apps from their own store, Google and Amazon’s listening voice gadgets such as Amazon’s Alexa and its use of those informations are suspicious and questionable. Imagine if you have the voice recordings of the person’s private conversations for the rest of your life. Google have been accused of using its market position to undermine other competitive partners such as promoting Google Ratings over other such ratings and amid all those accusations Amazon’s unfair practices have also been accused.
US Panel thinks that these companies have too much powers and have staged a litigation war against them. Antitrust Investigation over Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple have gained support and trust in this Anti- Trust war. Investigation focuses on stifling competition, Restricting access and Harming consumers. Two of the most powerful US commissions Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have started their Investigations over serious accusations along with the case proceedings.
YouTube have recently fined $170m for collecting children’s personal data, Facebook was fined $5 billion fine on recoding privacy checks in FTC reports, Google is facing Anti-Trust Investigation by 50 US states and Territories, nobody knows the result after the legal proceedings because keeping in view that market shares these companies have in an economy like US (Market Regulated) breaking these tech giants could be a lot more tougher job than it looks?