Halo Effect Shattered by Big Tech

In the mid to late 2010s, the destructive business model of the tech giants started to come under intense public scrutiny, ie
"...for a long time the Internet community was viewed as a saviour or part of the solution, whereas now they are seen as the enemy or the problem..."
Eric Goldman as quoted by John Kehoe, 2017/18

The shattering of the halo of big tech was highlighted by

- Facebook's pedalling fake news (misinformation) during the 2016 US election

- a record billions of dollars fine against Google for abusing its dominance

- Amazon's demolition of bricks and mortar retailers

- Google and Facebook's dominance of the international digital advertising revenue

- avoiding paying local taxes

- the impact of automation on jobs

- growing concern about their outsized influence on society, eg
"...the tech firms control so much valuable data on their users that the barriers to entry for competitors are much higher than in the past..."
John Kehoe, 2017/18

These tech firms have oligopoly-like powers that hurt competition and innovation. They have the power and resources to destroy, or buy-out, any form of competition.

It is claimed that Rupert Murdoch diluted his holdings in 21st Century Fox Entertainment owing to the competitive threat of Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc in streaming content to viewers.

There have been similar phenomena in the past, such as

- Nokia was the dominant player in the mobile phone industry around 2000s before it was eclipsed by Apple's iPhone

- in the 1980s and 90s IBM and Microsoft were regarded as monopolies. Around this time other technology disrupters, like Apple, Facebook, etc, were emerging to dethrone them.

The question is: will similar disrupters appear to dethrone the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, etc?

False Utopia

Initially it was thought that the Internet would help get everyone connected, more voices would be heard, people would be better able to communicate with each other, etc; all making for a better informed and more equitable world. Unfortunately, this has not happened with powerful elites (government and corporates) dominating and much misinformation being dispersed.

 

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