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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shut down Facebook

If there is one thing upon which the Left and the Right can both agree, it is that Facebook should be broken up:
In a letter published when his company went public in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg championed Facebook’s mission of making the world “more open and connected.” Businesses would become more authentic, human relationships stronger, and government more accountable. “A more open world is a better world,” he wrote.

Facebook’s CEO now claims to have had a major change of heart.

In “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking,” a 3,200-word essay that Zuckerberg posted to Facebook on March 6, he says he wants to “build a simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first.” In apparent surprise, he writes: “People increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.”

Zuckerberg’s essay is a power grab disguised as an act of contrition. Read it carefully, and it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that if privacy is to be protected in any meaningful way, Facebook must be broken up.
The reason both Left and Right can agree on this is because there are multiple reasons that Facebook should not be permitted to continue operating. It is a criminal enterprise. It is a monopoly. It is treasonous, and it is an ongoing attack on several unalienable American rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

I find it more than a little bizarre that Republicans have not seized upon the breakup of Facebook and other social media giants as a signature policy in their 2020 campaign platform, because it is not merely a popular position, it is not only the right thing to do, but it is manifestly in their best interest.

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42 Comments:

Blogger Ivan Ivanoff March 12, 2019 7:43 AM  

Hah, just read on ZH that Facebook has banned redirects to them.

Blogger CarpeOro March 12, 2019 7:43 AM  

As a party, I haven't seen them do much that has been in the party's interest. Most actions during my life have been to maintain the narrative or extend the empire.

Blogger JACIII March 12, 2019 7:46 AM  

Republican politician inaction against opposition social media is explained the same way many self destructive corporate decisions are: Short term profit over long term goals; I gotta get my piece before it's all gone. Facebook may give democrats tons of money and aid, but repubs get a trickle. And they like it.

Blogger The Scribe March 12, 2019 7:58 AM  

Bust up Google too.

Blogger Ivan Ivanoff March 12, 2019 7:59 AM  

Aaaaand we have a masonic pogrom in France.

Blogger Zaklog the Great March 12, 2019 8:00 AM  

Well yes, but Republicans reliably do not act in their best political interest. They've got to be the Washington Generals. The Generals aren't supposed to win. They're supposed to make the Globetrotters look good.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 12, 2019 8:02 AM  

I keep seeing Instapundit calling for the "breakup" of Facebook but I'm afraid Prof Reynolds is way off base here and for one reason.

How do you "break up" Facebook?

I readily admit to my ignorance about beneath the surface goings on there but from the outside it appears to have only two features that can be separated. Facebook itself and it's IM function.

As far as I can tell, it can either be shutdown or taken over as a government run monopoly but it can't be "broken up". It's not Standard Oil. I don't see how it can be turned into several smaller competing companies.

"Trust Busting" Facebook is a sop for Instapundit's Libertarian sensibilities. He is clearly not comfortable with honestly facing what he is really demanding, which is the government shutdown of a major business.

I on the other hand am completely cool with it at this point.

Shutdown Facebook.

Blogger Johnny March 12, 2019 8:19 AM  

Going by behavior most Republicans are not ideologues in that they have no real social goal that they are for in an active way. Collect money, stay in office, and go home rich some day. And in the mean time don't make it tough on yourself.

Blogger Shimshon March 12, 2019 8:21 AM  

@7 Cataline, besides what you mention, FB could be forced to divest itself of various acquisitions, like Instagram and Whatsapp. But you are correct. That would not really break FB up.

Better would be to take corporate personhood to its logical conclusion and "lock it up," as Vox has suggested.

It's very telling in an age of routine prosecutorial overreach and the application of "novel" interpretations of regulatory law, that no ambitious types have even proposed, let alone tried, this. The implications are too sobering for them, despite what would almost certainly be a wildly popular move.

Blogger RandyB March 12, 2019 8:21 AM  

FAANG delenda est.

Blogger TaurianVita March 12, 2019 8:22 AM  

@Cataline - One way to break up FB is to separate WhatsApp and Instagram. But the problem is, there are numerous bad actors collecting/sharing/selling data. Until this is regulated, FB is just one bad actor among many. Many refer to the Big 7 as GAFA + BAT (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). But there are hundreds of others collecting and selling info, and it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.

There is a 2 part series with Jason Calacanis interviewing Roger McNamee about this topic. A bit self serving and I don't trust either of them, but still some good content: https://thisweekinstartups.com/roger-mcnamee-zucked-part1/
https://thisweekinstartups.com/roger-mcnamee-part2/

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 12, 2019 8:27 AM  

I believe Warren's boob bait campaign sloganeering of breakup facebook has been taken down by facebook, surprise.

How about something practical of fairness, social media for us, banking for us, civil rights for us so we can peacefully as possible hasten and survive the breakdown of the American Empire.

Blogger Rick March 12, 2019 8:38 AM  

FB is a MSM News enterprise.
We may agree with the Left about breaking it up, but I’m pretty sure it’s for entirely different reasons. So likewise, each side, if they’ve even thought that far ahead, has a different vision for what their ideal FB would look like.

FB worked for Trump 3 years ago, but that was because FB didn’t really see him coming. Perhaps all he needs to do is sneak up on it again but this time just scare the piss out of it.

Blogger Lazzaloveman March 12, 2019 8:42 AM  

Yep

Blogger Ledford Ledford March 12, 2019 8:57 AM  

I find it more than a little bizarre that Republicans have not [whatever] because it is not merely a popular position, it is not only the right thing to do, but it is manifestly in their best interest.

Bizarre that the bizarreness is cleared up at the end of your very same sentence.

Blogger Peaceful Poster March 12, 2019 8:59 AM  

There's no need to break up FB. It will die of its own accord.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 12, 2019 9:01 AM  

Conservatives have some very simple rules. One is "private business > government". Libertarians even more so. They're as sure of that as they are of the sun coming up in the east. It doesn't matter how evil the private business acts, or how in bed with governments it is. If it has private owners or stockholders, they will defend it against government. They will argue that everytime government has broken up a private business, it has been bad or unnecessary, and the free market would have handled it better.

The day a conservative discards that rule is the day he stops confidently calling himself a conservative and starts wondering what he is.

FB worked for Trump 3 years ago, but that was because FB didn’t really see him coming.

Yep. They won't allow that again. Meme magic can't work if no one sees the memes, and they're already ramping up the censorship to get people used to it. By next year, you'll be more likely to see pro-Trump rhetoric on PBS than on a FB timeline, if they're allowed to operate how they like.

Blogger Nate March 12, 2019 9:02 AM  

The biggest bang for our buck would come from breaking up Facebook and Google. Those two acts alone would solve the majority of the issues we face

Blogger Shimshon March 12, 2019 9:09 AM  

@17 One is "private business > government".

This logic is sound...for sole proprietorships and similar. It makes one wonder about either the intelligence or agenda (or both) of libertarians who are unable or unwilling to understand that a corporation is a legal structure with special rights and privileges that real people are not granted created by the state they supposedly detest. If so, there's nothing really private about it.

Blogger dc.sunsets March 12, 2019 9:44 AM  

I find it more than a little bizarre that Republicans have not seized upon the breakup of Facebook and other social media giants as a signature policy in their 2020 campaign platform, because it is not merely a popular position, it is not only the right thing to do, but it is manifestly in their best interest.

Best interest? How on Earth would we know this?

For decades and decades we KNOW that congressmen (and bureaucrats) were bribed with campaign donations, six- and seven-figure jobs at firms they "regulated" after their "government service" ends, ditto such jobs for their kids, brothers, nephews, etc., junkets to foreign lands, fabulously lucrative government contracts for their spouses (see the book under PELOSI), and this wasn't limited to the donkeys at all. The elephants wallowed in it.

It has been manifestly in The Interest of *everyone* in the District of Criminals to sell out Americans every minute of every day for 50 years at LEAST. Denninger's endless rants about the Medical-Insurance Cartel are the epitome, as may be AIPAC.

Destroying FB (and Google), the Giant Vacuum hoovering up every American's life and turning this nation into a VAST PANOPTICON, is in all likelihood that which is NOT in "the interest of" any so-called elected official.

All roads lead to war.

Blogger dc.sunsets March 12, 2019 9:51 AM  

@16 FB will die of its own accord ONLY if and when this mania of openness and trust (as utterly, pathologically insane as it is) ends. Until then, the hole in which we exist will only get deeper.

Destroying FB and Google is easy-peasy. Pass a law that prohibits the collection of data the way both those firms do it, attach literally corporation-destroying fines to it and insure that the legislation is written generally enough to insure it can be tied up in Federal Court until 2119 (and threaten any Federal Judge that plays nice with FB/GOOGL with immediate impeachment.)

FB and GOOGL are worth NOTHING if they can't aggregate, act on and sell the data they mine from the driftnets they cast on us. Frankly, if as I suspect it does become public knowledge that the CIA's fingerprints are all over both firms, they should be seized instantly from shareholders, and their executives (and anyone at CIA connected to them) sent to Guantanamo Bay Solitary Confinement for the rest of their lives.

Blogger TaurianVita March 12, 2019 10:19 AM  

It is not a secret, but the CIA actually has its own VC fund in Silicon Valley, In-Q-Tel. But my guess is that the BIG money for surveillance tech comes through backchannel sources and public/private "grants."
NSA/CIA/DIA have immense budgets and lots of front corps. I remember when FB was still battling MySpace when suddenly they started building infrastructure like crazy. At the time, I thought, where is this money coming from.
This is a good read: https://qz.com/1145669/googles-true-origin-partly-lies-in-cia-and-nsa-research-grants-for-mass-surveillance/?fbclid=IwAR1AX_SCBDmQWzt-nfIjCaFmu5tASlmNkhCSbcBQMP4iVLaoRwbljpgRbEc

Blogger Watcher of the skies March 12, 2019 10:20 AM  

FB banned Zerohedge from their site.
Meanwhile Dorsey goes on the Rogan show twice in a short time span to 'reassure' us that their banning rules are not biased at all.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia March 12, 2019 10:42 AM  

VD wrote

The reason both Left and Right can agree on this is because there are multiple reasons that Facebook should not be permitted to continue operating. It is a criminal enterprise. It is a monopoly. It is treasonous, and it is an ongoing attack on several unalienable American rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Actually, it's a monopsony, but that's a technicality.

Unfortunatly, Facebook is here to stay. The latest statistics are disheartening.

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

By the way, women dominate the non-business oriented social platforms -- attention whoredom is alive and well.

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but the issue for Facebook is not its continuing existence -- it's not going anywhere, sorry about that -- but its ability to monetize the platform with tougher privacy rules.

In fact, killing Facebook through some legal or legislative approach is a pipedream, but you could hurt it badly by driving down the cost of CPM or by making targeting discrete consumers tougher and tougher via onerous privacy requirements.

You could also take a run at making it a utility, but that would only codify its monopsony character.

Blogger Tars Tarkusz March 12, 2019 10:44 AM  

If doing something is sensible and popular with voters across the political spectrum, you can always count on the Republicans to not do that thing. They are not called the stupid party for nothing.

As much as it inconveniences me and keeps me out of some FB groups I used to enjoy, I blocked FB from my computer several years ago and never looked back. FB will track you even if you aren't a FB user and even if you aren't logged in. I don't know how effective it is at stopping this, but I have all of the FB addresses mapped to the loopback address in my hosts file.

Blogger Hammerli280 March 12, 2019 10:45 AM  

The GOP tends to go all small-l libertarian when it comes to Big Business...failing to realize that Big Business threw them over for the Dems and crony capitalism 25 years ago.

Not to mention that @20 dc Sunsets is right. Soft graft is epidemic in Washington. Professor Reynolds' idea of a revolving-door surtax is a good one, but needs a family graft provision added.

Blogger Crush Limbraw March 12, 2019 10:48 AM  

DaGOP=DaBigCon=StealthLeft as per Jack Kerwick.

Blogger Primus Pilus March 12, 2019 11:28 AM  

If doing something is sensible and popular with voters across the political spectrum, you can always count on the Republicans to not do that thing. They are not called the stupid party for nothing.

The unopposed social media purge of the Right is a not-insignificant part of the reason that under-35 formerly fervent Trump supporters are highly disillusioned right now.

Blogger veryfunnyminion March 12, 2019 11:37 AM  

The only way I see to actually take money out of politics is to give them access to as little money as possible.

So long as they continue to have billions and trillions to fund and spend money on everything from studies on intersectionality in shrimp farming to space exploration, there is no effective way to impact the pigs feeding at the public trough.

Blogger justaguy March 12, 2019 11:43 AM  

Congress will not do anything to FB or Google because they have signaled that they are on the leftists' side. Why would the Dems hurt something that actively goes against their opponents?

Blogger Warunicorn March 12, 2019 11:50 AM  

It's social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that turned me into a sociopath almost overnight. It was especially an argument with an idiot that I had that opened my eyes. (This person claimed that calling a White person a cracker wasn't as racist as calling a Black person a nigger, because history or something. Really. I went straight to rhetoric at that point.)

Let them burn. We can all get on with our lives without them. We did before; no reason why we couldn't again.

Blogger Geir Balderson March 12, 2019 12:14 PM  

“People increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.”

Ha! I can go into my living room and sit with a good book and a glass of wine and have complete privacy. I do not desire Zuckerswine looking over my should and peeking into my business. May Facebook perish in the flames of perdition or something like that.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey March 12, 2019 12:20 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey March 12, 2019 12:23 PM  

Not a bad piece. Promotes the long-discredited Russia conspiracy theory, and muh poor persecuted Rohingya Muslims -- but only in passing, and otherwise sticks mostly to the facts.

The author forgot to mention Zuckerberg's best-known statement on his commitment to user privacy, though:

They trust me. Dumb f**ks

He also mentions that "Zuckerberg describes Facebook as a town square" -- but he forgot to add that the Supreme Court used very similar language -- "modern public square" -- in Packingham v. North Carolina, a unanimous 2017 decision which held that pedophiles like Mr. Packingham have a "constitutional right" to social media accounts. But political dissidents -- or even mainstream Trump supporters -- apparently don't.

Some of the shysters at Harvard were actually quite concerned about the use of the "public square" language at the time, and its implications for possible weakening of political censorship on social media:

Packingham v. North Carolina

But the double standard seems to have gone largely unnoticed since.

So social media is a "public square" for perverts... and muh private company for anyone who dissents from The Narrative. The GOPe -- and Trump -- apparently do not see this as a problem.

Even Fauxahontas is making noises about actually enforcing anti-trust law, and breaking up Big Tech:

Elizabeth Warren says she wants to break up big tech

@17
Partly. But it's mostly what @6 said -- short term self-interest, not ideology.

@20
That's the carrot. There's also the stick -- the threat of being targeted by the "news" media narrative, having donations dry up, a well-used primary challenger appear...

Blogger Tars Tarkusz March 12, 2019 12:29 PM  

Geir Balderson wrote:Ha! I can go into my living room and sit with a good book and a glass of wine and have complete privacy.

Just remember that zuck keeps tape over his mic and camera. I don't think it's a coincidence that as these things became ubiquitous, the light showing the operation of the camera suddenly went away.

@28
Not to mention all this stuff started while the GOP was still in charge and could do something about it. Just like they refused to fund the damn wall when they were in charge.
Cucks, Cowards and Traitors!

Blogger Primus Pilus March 12, 2019 12:50 PM  

Tars Tarkusz wrote:@28

Not to mention all this stuff started while the GOP was still in charge and could do something about it. Just like they refused to fund the damn wall when they were in charge.


Yeah, the social media purge began almost immediately after the election and only accelerated over the next 2 years. If any Republican in the federal govt noticed, they didn't care.

Blogger Lance E March 12, 2019 12:56 PM  

dc.sunsets wrote:Destroying FB and Google is easy-peasy. Pass a law that prohibits the collection of data the way both those firms do it, attach literally corporation-destroying fines to it

Problem: This would affect almost every company that does business online. I suppose it could be selectively-enforced, but do you think that's what would happen?

...and insure that the legislation is written generally enough to insure it can be tied up in Federal Court until 2119 (and threaten any Federal Judge that plays nice with FB/GOOGL with immediate impeachment.)

This sounds "easy peasy" to you, compared with anti-trust?

Blogger Haxo Angmark March 12, 2019 3:38 PM  

VD: "I find it more than a little bizarre...".

it isn't:

(((Rothschild, Soros, Bloomberg, Adelson, Zuckerberg))) and another 60 or so (((Tribal))) billionaires own the entire White 'Murkan political class.

that's why the demoncrat/republiscam ZOGparty will do nothing substantial about FB, Google, the Fed, or any other Judeo-globalist, white-genociding racket.

Blogger Jo K March 12, 2019 7:35 PM  

Republican politicians are NPCs.

Blogger liberranter March 13, 2019 2:26 AM  

I find it more than a little bizarre that Republicans have not seized upon the breakup of Facebook and other social media giants as a signature policy in their 2020 campaign platform, because it is not merely a popular position, it is not only the right thing to do, but it is manifestly in their best interest.


Republicucks, doing something in their own best interest? THAT sure would be a first.

Blogger InformationMerchant March 13, 2019 3:35 AM  

Warren found out when Facebook pulled her ads that it's dangerous to rely on a platform to get you to win any kind of election if you have a policy of breaking up said platform.

It'll be hilarious to see if Facebook gets busted after the primary for messing with Dems that aren't Facebook friendly vs those that are.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 13, 2019 6:13 PM  

Interestingly, Facebook has been broken for hours today, across a pretty wide area, if not globally. A lot of people are trying to downplay it as a network outage or a DDOS attack, but FB should really be too big to be hurt this much by that sort of thing.

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