May 12, 2019

"I think that Facebook has experienced massive growth and has prioritized its growth over the best interests of its consumers, especially on the issue of privacy."

"There is no question in my mind that there needs to be serious regulation, and that that has not been happening. There needs to be more oversight. That has not been happening. My -- especially during my years as attorney general of California, one of my greatest areas of focus on this issue has been on consumer privacy. They have not been adequately informing consumers about where they are relinquishing their privacy.... Yes, I think we have to seriously take a look at [whether they should be broken up], yes. I mean, when you look at the issue, they're essentially a utility. Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook. There -- it's very difficult for people to be engaged in any level of commerce without -- so, we have to recognize it for what it is. It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated. And as far as I'm concerned, that's got to stop."

Said Kamala Harris today on "State of the Union" when Jake Tapper asked her if Facebook is a monopoly.

72 comments:

GatorNavy said...

Hmmm, the knives are out for the silicon valley set? Interesting...

ALP said...

"Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook."

LOL OK. I seem to get by just fine with email, the phone and - you know - actually *showing up to events*.

rehajm said...

Right. Could anyone imagine a Democrat saying something like Facebook is a private company and the marketplace will sort it out?

Chris Lopes said...

She's partially right, she just doesn't understand the full evil involved. An autistic a-hole like Zuckerberg has no interest at all in the welfare of his customers. To him, they are just carbon-based life forms to be exploited.

stevew said...

"Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook."

Pandering of the worst sort, by fabricating a crisis.

FB is not essential to survival in the same way utilities like electricity and gas are. My work, which is sales and very much requires that I be actively and closely engaged with a community and society, is not negatively affected by the fact I quit FB a couple of years ago. Indeed, if I recall correctly I was not connected to anyone with whom my relationship was work related.

Grasping at straw(men) she is.

R C Belaire said...

She's lying for the sake of electability.

Fernandistein said...

I think that Kamala Harris has experienced massive growth and has prioritized her growth over the best interests of her constituents and there is no question in my mind that there needs to be serious regulation, and that that has not been happening.

richlb said...

Ask someone under 22 if they can get by without Facebook. They may reply "whatbook?"

Fernandistein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

They have not been adequately informing consumers about where they are relinquishing their privacy...

Hey Consumers: THE INTERNET is where you are relinquishing your privacy. Every. Single. Thing. You. Put. Online. Is. No. Longer. Private.

( I'm not saying Facebook should not be regulated. I'm just saying I don't trust people like Harris to do it in a reasonable, fair, and unbiased way. )

Rob said...

Democrats can't help themselves. They see a person or company that's successful, and they want to regulate it, destroy it or tax it to kingdom come. Or some combination of the above.

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John henry said...

No to regulation.

If you don't like FB et al, don't use them.

If you use them, STFU and quit whining.

John Henry

John henry said...

Is moderation on? I tried posting this and it did not appear.

No to regulation.

If you don't like FB et al, don't use them. There are plenty of alternatives.

If you use them stop whining.

John Henry

Mike Sylwester said...

Speaking of privacy, I have these questions.

Based on the FBI's FISA warrants in its RussiaGate investigation ...

* From how many people were communications collected?

* What are those people's names?

* How many communication items were collected?

* Which officials studied the collected communications?

* What information were those officials looking for?

* In what further investigations and proceedings was that information used?

* When did that collection of communications end?

* What is the current status of the collected communications?

I hope that Kamala Harris too will raise these privacy questions.

chickelit said...

Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook.

FU, KH. I'm one of "those very few people." You don't represent me in the Senate, and you won't represent me in the WH.

Original Mike said...

"Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook."

Really? Sounds more like a convenient argument for state intrusion to me.

If privacy is a problem, and I think it is, legislate privacy.

Narayanan said...

Define consumers: as has been said if you're not paying you're the product. Product is, will and can be displayed without privacy right.

Michael K said...

There go her donations from Zuck.

Althouse has had moderation on all day, which makes it hard to comment.

Automatic_Wing said...

Facebook's consumers are not the people who have Facebook accounts. They're the product, or rather their information is the product.

Seeing Red said...

Meh.

Bay Area Guy said...

"I mean, when you look at the issue, they're essentially a utility. Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities...,"

What horseshit. The woman is clueless and ignorant. No brief for Facebook, but it's certainly not a utility. It's easy to get by without FB. And, since it's free, on a superficial level, it's a good way to keep tabs on Aunt Jenny in Poughkeepsie and/or ex-junior high girlfriends, if you feel the need.

My vague recollection is that Obama successfully used FB to help win in 2012, and Trump did the same in 2016. Sometimes you win, Kammy, and sometimes you lose.

madAsHell said...

Like, there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook.

Like? She sounds like the mean girl from junior high.

She wants to regulate Facebook to make it more fair.

MayBee said...

The knives are out for Facebook. Google sits on the sidelines (and probably the Dem nominee's political campaign) and laughs.

Arashi said...

Actually, the Left and Zuckerberg want regulations, that will essentially put the government in the position of being the national censor of all things on the internet, and shortly thereafter, NO voice will be allowed on the internet that disagrees with the Left - only approved, progressive pablum.

THey all just want to be Pravda, and send the local KGB out to have a talk with all of the haters.

The solution to disagreaable speech is more speech, not less. Censorship is evil, like Nazi's and Communist's are evil.

D 2 said...

Not essential.

Maybe FB can be folded into the postal service, along with banking.

Sebastian said...

"there are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook"

Huh? Yes, many people in my profession use Facebook. But it is not essential to anything they do. I function fine without being on Facebook. They could too.

stever said...

She stole that idea from Beto

Fen said...

I think it's a trap. Facebook is evil and should be destroyed. Something is being built in some garage right now that will replace FaceBook.

Harris will sign regulations that will cause FB pain but also kill off the grassroots competitors.

Fen said...

Arashi upthread is smarter and wiser than me. Read her instead.

rcocean said...

Great. Harris is looking like a good choice.

richlb said...

"There go her donations from Zuck."

Ha. Funny. She is all talk and no action. Zuck's continued donations will guarantee it.

rcocean said...

Facebook, twitter, and above all Google should be regulated and FORBIDDEN from violating peoples privacy AND censoring views and people.

Jeff said...

Shorter version: Facebook has money. Cough it up.

Unknown said...

They have not been adequately informing consumers about where they are relinquishing their privacy...

Would that help? I get some dense little phamplet every year from everybody I do business with about their "Privacy Policy". They go straight into the trash.

Am I going to read through it and dump my bank? Read every other bank's phamplet to find a better one?

DavidUW97 said...

This is gaslighting to keep the pressure off the real utility which is google. Everyone knows you can kill Facebook or extort them but if you take on google, you’ll be disappeared.

JackWayne said...

On its face, regulation of FB is a help to the Republicans. I don’t believe the SJW’s that vote for KH are in favor of helping Nazis. I think she’ll find this pander does not get traction with her potential bass. If she goes the utility path instead of publishing, that opens FB up to everyone no matter their politics.

0_0 said...

Kamala has done jack shit for privacy.

steve uhr said...

What does a broken up Facebook look like. If your last name starts with A to L you are in FB I. The rest are in FB II.?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Of course Facebook is monopoly. Copyright, patents and trademarks are a government grant of monopoly use of IP for a period of time. That period of time is essentially unlimited for copyright works of hire.
I wish more conservatives would recognize this.

steve uhr said...

Antitrust wise the focus isn’t on members, who pay nothing. But on advertisers, who would seem to have many other places to put their dollars. So not a strong antitrust argument for regulation.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Why do people believe that a broken-up Facebook would have a better record on freedom of expression than Facebook as it is now? This is underwear gnomes thinking.
People complain about Facebook's secrecy about its content-control algorithm.
Duh! It has to be opaque and arbitrary, or people would game the algorithm. They do not want a transparent appeals process because this would expose the algorithm or reveal its arbitrary nature. This is as good as it gets if you want a Facebook-style platform w/o allowing it become a platform for mayhem, i.e., a platform for bad actors doing nasty things like selling contraband or organizing crimes.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Blogger steve uhr said...

Antitrust wise the focus isn’t on members, who pay nothing. But on advertisers, who would seem to have many other places to put their dollars. So not a strong antitrust argument for regulation."
That would depend on substitution cost, wouldn't it?

Earnest Prole said...

Harris is entirely correct. If a private utility like PG&E cut off power to someone's house in the middle of winter because they engaged in right-wing or left-wing political speech, it would rightly be considered a violation of their Constitutionally guaranteed rights. The fact that the company was private would not be sufficient to shield it.

Facebook and Google should be held to the same standard.

Henry said...

If Facebook is a utility, so are meth labs.

Henry said...

So if the monopoly argument doesn't get regulators in bed with Facebook the public health argument will.

Henry said...

Harris should propose regulating the carbon output of Facebook's server farms.

Henry said...

Like Fen, I agree with Arashi. Governmental regulation will preserve Facebook as a public-private entity against competition. We can call it Ma Facebook.

Lewis Wetzel said...

From what I hear being deplatformed by Facebook or Youtube is a death sentence. It has got to make it nearly impossible to attract investors or donors because it limits your upside viewership.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Imagine how crippling it would be for a company to be denied the use of a toll free number. You could use any feature of the telephone system, except for receiving toll free calls.

James K said...

Whether Kamala is right on this or not, the fact is there's no big business that she wouldn't regard as a "utility" for the purpose of getting her hands on it and making it serve her interests.

My view is that this problem will solve itself if government stays out of it. Five years from now Facebook will be like Netscape. Especially if it alienates large portions of its customer base by censoring and invading privacy.

Henry said...

Back to Craigslist, folks.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The economies of scale Facebook leverages make entry cost very high for any would be competitor. It's customers are advertisers, not its users.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The reason the SC accepted anti-discrimination laws back in the 50s was because it had determined (rightly or wrongly) that capitalism couldn't fix discrimination against Blacks, at least not in the Jim Crow South. A diner or a bus company that didn't separate Whites & Blacks would be boycotted OOB by Whites.
And anyway, Facebook is a monopoly. It does not operate in a free market. Only Facebook can sell you the information it collects on its users, and no one else has access to similar data.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The way I look at it is that Facebook should not be allowed to exist. It cannot operate profitably as a publisher, yet it has convinced regulators that it is an open platform.
It is not. Start allowing Facebook to be sued every time some jilted lover uses it to libel an ex, or an unhappy customer badmouths a business, and it will be gone in no time.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Twitter mobs have cost people there jobs & livilihood. Jack Dorsey should be in court fighting libel suits five days a week, until that house of cards is knocked over by a Gawker-sized award of damages.

Unknown said...

If it's true the right to privacy "emanates from the penumbras" of the constitution. Why can't this right be used against Facebook and other internet companies?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Because you voluntarily give up your rights when you click the accept button on the EULA.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Honestly, you don't need an anti-trust regime, you only need a common sense judicial ruling that Facebook is not a common carrier (like the phone company) but a publisher (like a newspaper). Facebook would collapse over night.

Chris Lopes said...

"Honestly, you don't need an anti-trust regime, you only need a common sense judicial ruling that Facebook is not a common carrier (like the phone company) but a publisher (like a newspaper). Facebook would collapse over night."

Since they are controlling content, they are indeed s publisher

wholelottasplainin' said...

Stevew: "FB is not essential to survival in the same way utilities like electricity and gas are. My work, which is sales and very much requires that I be actively and closely engaged with a community and society, is not negatively affected by the fact I quit FB a couple of years ago. Indeed, if I recall correctly I was not connected to anyone with whom my relationship was work related."

Grasping at straw(men) she is."
*****************

The sun does not shine from your fundament.

Just because it's not crucial to *you* doesn't mean it's not crucial to millions of others.

Telephones were not essential to survival when AT&T was broken up.

You remind me of an old joke:

Two Bedouin are discussing their camels.

One says, "I can't mine to drink before we go out on a long trip tomorrow across the desert. It'll die before we get to our destination."

Other guy says: "I know exactly what to do. You get someone to dunk the camel's head into the oasis water and at the same time you stand behind him with a pair of rocks in your hands.

You then smack the camel in the balls. When he gasps, he will ingest a lot of water, and your problem is solved!"

First guy: "But isn't that very painful?"

Second guy: "No...not if you keep your thumbs out of the way."
************


Ken B said...

I gather moderation is on. Ironic for a discussion of Facebook.
I agree with the diagnosis not the prescription. Fb needs to be broken up, not regulated. Same with google, twatter, and several more.
All the libertarian arguments assume a free market. We don’t have one of those at the moment. Google has a larger market share than standard oil did. Anti trust is to protect the *market* not particular companies.
And, anyone remember “too big to fail”?
I support assertive anti trust, rapidly. If Harris does too, good for her. I still don’t support her.

Ken B said...

I confess I like Lewis Wetzel's approach too. Fb really is a publisher now, as is Twatter. But Google is just a sleazy lying monopolist.

rcocean said...

The real villain is Google. They have a stranglehold on the search engine. And they have a stranglehold on YouTube.

Rather than treating twitter as a publisher, just add "political views" to the rights we have. You can be discriminated against because of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Just add "political views" to that list.

After you regulate Facebook and Google.

rcocean said...

I was warning Conservatives about Google and their monopoly on the search engine but all I got was "Free Enterprise" "Free Enterprise".

Of course, National Review is still saying that. Because they've been bribed by Google.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Although I am a conservative, I have many disagreements about the nature of capitalism with some of my fellow conservatives. There are few truly free markets. The norm is rent seeking and barriers to entry for competitors, because this how you maximize investor value. I believe that many tech industries destroy distributed social capital & convert it to cash to benefit their investors.

Lyle said...

She is bought and paid for by Silicon Valley.

John Lynch said...

The "consumers" of Facebook are the advertisers. The "product" is the users.

rhhardin said...

They're not a utility but ought to be either publishers and open to libel suits or bulletin boards and noncensoring. Rather than censoring bulletin boards.

rhhardin said...

My browser doesn't work the facebook and twitter suspended my account within 5 minutes of me opening it for rule unspecified violations.

Joe said...

Harris could help fix this with one single tweak to the telecommunications act. Namely, any ISP and/or website which curates legal content becomes a publisher. That's it. That mostly solves the problem (except not in the monopolistic promoting way Zuckerberg wants.)

Nichevo said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
"Blogger steve uhr said...

Antitrust wise the focus isn’t on members, who pay nothing. But on advertisers, who would seem to have many other places to put their dollars. So not a strong antitrust argument for regulation."
That would depend on substitution cost, wouldn't it?

5/12/19, 9:00 PM

Ridiculous. Have people already forgotten the browser Wars? Netscape versus Internet Explorer? Remember IE was given away free with every Windows PC? And this was unfair, because market share? Who was the "customer" then?

FB is probably semi innocent strictly because it has been made the whipping boy. Google is far eviler and more powerful.

I don't claim wisdom on what to do. But making you a publisher if you manage content seems logical.