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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Break up Facebook

Even one of Facebook's founders is now calling for the breakup of Facebook:
The government must hold Mark accountable. For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook’s explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive. Any day now, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to impose a $5 billion fine on the company, but that is not enough; nor is Facebook’s offer to appoint some kind of privacy czar. After Mark’s congressional testimony last year, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes. Instead the legislators who questioned him were derided as too old and out of touch to understand how tech works. That’s the impression Mark wanted Americans to have, because it means little will change.

We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.

It is time to break up Facebook.
The easiest way to check the power of the corpocracy is simply to punish juridical persons as the actual persons under law that they legally are. If the corporation commits a crime, the corporation goes to jail. No natural person is permitted to engage in normal business operations when in jail, neither should juridical persons be allowed to do so.

But in the absence of this eminently sensible system, breaking up Facebook would be a reasonable thing for the Trump administration to do.

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55 Comments:

Blogger Salt May 09, 2019 8:07 AM  

Zuckertraz

Blogger FrankNorman May 09, 2019 8:09 AM  

Vox, what would "breaking up" Facebook actually look like in practice?
Back in the day, the anti-trust solution for Microsoft was to spit it into one company that just made the OS, and another that made things like the MS-Office suite (though that somehow never happened) so as to give over software developers a fair chance.

What components of a website business like FB can be pulled apart?

Blogger basementhomebrewer May 09, 2019 8:09 AM  

If the corporation commits a crime, the corporation goes to jail. No natural person is permitted to engage in normal business operations when in jail, neither should juridical persons be allowed to do so.

A very decent proposal. It eliminates all the calculated risk that goes into breaking the law now. If they get caught they pay a fine, but the fine is minor in comparison to the money they made by breaking the law, and all the times they didn't get caught. That is no longer true if they aren't able to operate for even just 1 year. The risk calculation changes drastically towards following the law.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 09, 2019 8:21 AM  

Open Borders with tens of millions of migrants invading the USA, reckless growth of asset-stripping schemes in finance & banking, and decades of tax incentives to pack up manufacturing and ship it overseas is a history of reckless actions and pathologically perverse incentives for "corporate persons."

The closest metaphor might be a human body, where the colon has a perverse incentive to poison the water from which the entire body must drink. This is how corporate executives (and their board members) have behaved, putting personal gain above the very health of the system that sustains us all.

"Corporate persons" are essentially alien invaders, "Pod People" who concentrate benefits while diffusing the toxic waste (downstream consequences) they produce, and obtaining the very best government their money (taken from you via legalized monopoly & cartel) can buy.

As currently constituted, all multinational corporations should be hunted to extinction, along with the parliaments of whores they bought and paid for.

Blogger Nate May 09, 2019 8:23 AM  

breaking up facebook is a fantastic idea. Google should also be broken up. Additionally... we don't need to put corporations in jail. We need to start putting the officers in jail. We used to do that all the time.

Blogger dawnfrombeyond May 09, 2019 8:27 AM  

Does anyone know of somewhere I can find a running list of all those who have been censored (purged, banned, deleted, etc.) in the last couple of years???

Blogger pyrrhus May 09, 2019 8:30 AM  

Zuck lied to Congress, and was praised for it, not held in contempt...Now he is openly attacking Trump's supporters, and random third parties, and nothing is done about it by the Trump administration...go figure...Does Trump actually want to win in 2020?

Blogger JG May 09, 2019 8:32 AM  

While it would be entertaining to see the feral, converged mob that control Facebook running for cover, I would note that, by the time the regulators get around to doing their jobs, the marketplace is already doing it for them. I expect the same of Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The corporate cancer of the SJWs is already spreading the rot through these companies.

As examples, first, Microsoft. Anyone remember when big, evil Microsoft was going to take over the world of computing? By the time Microsoft signed their "consent decree", the marketplace had changed and PCs had already reached their peak, and other computing platforms such as phones and tablets started to dominate the computing market. Microsoft remains relegated to PCs and laptops, and all their forays into phones and tablets failed miserably. No one cares about Microsoft anymore.

IBM. Remember IBM? I doubt Generation Zyklon has even heard of IBM, who everyone feared would soon rule the world. Everyone and their brother started a clone company, and by the time IBM signed their consent decree, the company was done. They don't even make mainframes anymore; now they are relegated to making servers and writing software with a mob of H1-B visa workers and dinosaurs left over from when IBM was a company to be admired.

The Bell System. Ma Bell was going to rule the world. By the time the Bell System was broken up, the marketplace had already been smashed by the internet and the cell phone.

It certainly seem that when the regulators get around to attacking the monopolies, the marketplace has already done the heavy lifting. In the case of Facebook, Twitter, Google, the convergence rot will do most of the work, and the regulators will help finish them off.

Blogger Nate May 09, 2019 8:48 AM  

"What components of a website business like FB can be pulled apart?"

You'd first take away Instagram and WhatsApp. You could also take away the Oculus Rift and the Portal project... the sort of tech gadget aspect of the business.

Blogger Sam Spade May 09, 2019 9:03 AM  

The harmony was such that even muslims weren't a monolithic force, and had important conflicts within them. And that fact was very important for reconquering the Peninsula bit by bit.

Blogger cheddarman May 09, 2019 9:09 AM  

Hang zuckerberg to set an example...

Blogger CM May 09, 2019 9:18 AM  

Vox, what would "breaking up" Facebook actually look like in practice?

Facebook, like Google, owns far more than just their namesake product.

Snapchat, Instagram, and I'm sure there's more I'm unaware of. All of these are different avenues of collecting personal data.

Blogger ErotemeObelus May 09, 2019 9:21 AM  

Richard Stallman's proposal: once a company grows to a certain size, increase the corporate tax rate to 80%. This will cause the company to split by itself and won't require a j7dge to restructure a company.

Blogger Lazarus May 09, 2019 9:30 AM  

Hang zuckerberg to set an example...

Not going to happen until Trump busts the CIA. Same with Google.

Blogger Nobody of Consequence May 09, 2019 9:54 AM  

The problem with the feds breaking up a company is that they have no constitutional authority to do so. The power over regulating commerce is limited to stopping states from screwing with other states. The "powers" exercised by the fed that impact individuals and companies were created out of crap by the courts claiming plenary or implied or inherent powers. The Constitution does not allow for nor does an evaluation of the granted powers support plenary or implied or inherent powers. In fact a simple review of the separate grants of powers over money proves that plenary or implied or inherent powers do not exist under the Constitution. So there is no legitimate authority in the feds to "break up" facebook. Folks who don't like what facebook has done should never have gotten involved. Using facebook is like screwing in public. Only the stupid do facebook.

Blogger Mystic On Main May 09, 2019 9:57 AM  

@13 Nice idea. But it has to be a valuation relative to its specific market.

That said, it's not like Facebook is the FoodBook, controlling access to something important. You don't like Facebook? Get off it. If they commit a crime. Prosecute. If you are really looking for a company to break up over its dominance, you want to look at Amazon. It's control of retail is unprecedented.

Blogger Shimshon May 09, 2019 10:04 AM  

@11 Hang zuckerberg to set an example...

Won't work. Everyone knows he's undead. Furthermore, Facebook owns at least one lamppost company. You can't win.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd May 09, 2019 10:16 AM  

pyrrhus wrote:.Does Trump actually want to win in 2020?

Yes, obviously, but does he want it badly enough to do what it takes? He keeps stopping at the edge of the Rubicon.

Blogger liberranter May 09, 2019 10:19 AM  

FedGov ain't about to break up one of its primary weapons for spying on and controlling its sheeple population. Don't fall for the fiction that FB is an actual private-sector business.

Blogger Damelon Brinn May 09, 2019 10:24 AM  

I was just reading about Marsh v. Alabama, where SCOTUS ruled that a company town, where a corporation literally owns the entire town, could not restrict First Amendment freedoms in public-use spaces like the streets and town square. The reasoning was that those spaces are intended for use by the public the same as any other town, and so the rights of the public prevail there even though they are private property of the corporation.

It seems to me that applies here, and would address the problem more directly than breaking up a company (though that would be good too). These services present themselves as town squares: "Come and hang out in our space, bring all your friends, and use the facilities for free!" And the social nature of them means there can never be dozens of equally popular Internet town squares, for the same reason a town doesn't have a park on every block. A critical mass will always develop around one or two services, no matter how many libertarians doff their fedoras and say, "Just don't use it if you don't like it," so being locked out of those effectively means being locked out of the online conversation.

So force these virtual company towns to treat their public spaces as public and allow all speech unless it's actually illegal. Am I missing something, or is that pretty straightforward?

Blogger Vestigo May 09, 2019 10:33 AM  

The entities behind DARPA won’t allow Lifelog to be pulled apart so easily.

Blogger Gettimothy May 09, 2019 10:45 AM  

@8 "It certainly seem that when the regulators get around to attacking the monopolies, the marketplace has already done the heavy lifting. In the case of Facebook, Twitter, Google, the convergence rot will do most of the work, and the regulators will help finish them off."

As a company, sure.

Consider Facebook as a nexus of control; the type of thing Stalin would staff with his favorite Bolsheviks. It's primary purpose is as an arm of the creeping totalitarian state. Its acts as an enforcer and a reporting/spying tool.



Blogger Tars Tarkas May 09, 2019 10:55 AM  

We are not the same nation that broke up monopolies in the past. We are not even A nation let alone the nation we once were. We are clownworld and people use facebook to push transgenderism on children.
He buys the lies that FB is "empower nationalist leaders" and "fake news"
The government failed to break up Microsoft as well. The Democrats will not want them broken up because they do their bidding and the stupid party doesn't disappoint.

Blogger Vulgar_Display May 09, 2019 11:01 AM  

I say let then keep their monopolies, but close all the tax loopholes, and impose harsh taxes on corporations of their size.

Perhaps forcing them to give out some sort of payment to those whose property (data/information) they are getting rich off of would help curb the problem.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 09, 2019 11:04 AM  

@8, what you describe is the tautology of social mood.

Nothing "official" happens until it is already a part of the zeitgeist. For example, while its stock price was soaring, Enron could do no harm. Only after its share price had collapsed 95% did the "buy" recommendations stop and the investigations begin, revealing a level of criminality that made it a household name for years.

FB, GOOGL, TSLA, etc. will be relatively untouchable until AFTER their share prices decline substantially. Once that occurs, prices for long knives will soar.

Who knows? Maybe this week's downdraft is the beginning of something new. Only hindsight will reveal the ultimate apogee, though. People have called "The" top for 30 years.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella May 09, 2019 11:45 AM  

How did a rural, white American make it into Harvard on scholarship in the first place?

Blogger Balam May 09, 2019 12:02 PM  

That's a pretty harsh metric because some industries have very close required assets to income ratios. Imagine mega taxing an oil rig that costs millions because it returned slightly more millions than it cost to make it. That's a different beast from taxing facebook, which costs like nothing but employees, for its millions.

Blogger Seeingsights May 09, 2019 12:09 PM  

Here's an idea for the Trump Administration: in any lawsuit that the DOJ has against Facebook, seek as part of a settlement that Facebook has to allow communication to the fullest extent under the law.

Blogger Lance E May 09, 2019 12:13 PM  

JG wrote:It certainly seem that when the regulators get around to attacking the monopolies, the marketplace has already done the heavy lifting.

Almost as if the average Congress critter is too corrupt or cowardly to go after any company that's actually powerful, and prefers to spend government resources on bullying and extracting rent from the weak.

Blogger Up from the pond May 09, 2019 12:26 PM  

pyrrhus wrote:Does Trump actually want to win in 2020?

Trump is running for president of Israel.

By the way, does anyone know if Sheldon Adelson will be funding the war on Iran, or will we taxpayers have to pay for it? I would hate to lose the tax cut- got fifty bucks back this year.

Blogger Longtime Lurker May 09, 2019 12:43 PM  

Yes. Break up Fascebook.

Blogger DonReynolds May 09, 2019 12:56 PM  

Texas is the only state I have lived in that had a state law against "official oppression", which was essentially the use of an official office in a private grudge. People who live by the feud, should probably never be sheriff in the first place, but we need a law like this just in case.

Isn't that actually the problem with the Tech Giants....they are using their platforms to purge and silence and edit the voices and opinions they personally disapprove of? Most of the public would accept censorship of AT LEAST PARTS of the internet space, with regard to obscene language, explicit sex, terrorist threats, organized crime, and the lewd. No apologies to Libertarians but an unlimited internet space can quickly become unusable to all but a few. Just what limits are necessary are not determined by the consuming public, except in a very macro way. The visible limits to use of the internet have become the personal political and ideological preferences of the individual directors of the Tech Giants. They have become book burners and worse, they have combined in apparent agreement to form a Leftist united and coordinated front in an ideological war, which may or may not be directed by a foreign government(s). There....I said it.

What would be sufficient to stop book burning and prevent it in the future? Can we take away their matches and prohibit the loaning of matches? Can we take away the books of anyone who burns books? Should we burn the books they like in retaliation? I tried to imagine something that would have worked against the German Nazi SA thugs in the 1930s or the Chinese Maoist Red Guards of the Great Leap Forward. I failed completely to come up with a solution or any way to calm ideological enemies, short of taking their life or putting out their eyes. They are not going to accept peaceful coexistence as a compromise.

Blogger Cabeza de Vaca May 09, 2019 12:59 PM  

Would it make much difference if the components Facebook got broken up into were still serving the same globalist/sjw agenda(s) as much if not more so? Did breaking up Standard Oil mitigate Rockefeller's control, power and wealth? It seems like these break ups just deceive people into thinking that justice has been served and things have improved when it's really just business as usual but with a kinder/gentler front behind which to keep getting away with the same abuses.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 09, 2019 1:01 PM  

"The problem with the feds breaking up a company is that they have no constitutional authority to do so."

The problem with them not breaking up a company is that a sufficiently powerful body is ersatz government. Normal government is by monopoly on force. Corporations with enough sway are government by monopoly on production. We all know what banksters are government by.

If a government wants to have its monopoly, it needs to break anything else approaching, regardless of the avenue of approach. Of the people, by the people, for the people, means corps have got to bow. Corps getting in bed with bureaucrats and administrators who happen to have functionary roles in government is worst of all worlds.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 09, 2019 1:04 PM  

"Almost as if the average Congress critter is too corrupt or cowardly to go after any company that's actually powerful, and prefers to spend government resources on bullying and extracting rent from the weak."

More like while the company is ascendant it has the hands of too many politicians eating from its pockets for it to be destructible by those who aren't.

In the case of companies like farcebook and scroogle, they're pretty much creepers growing out of dirt in the gov's pockets to begin with.

Blogger The Pitchfork Rebel May 09, 2019 1:06 PM  

And Twitter and Goofle.

Blogger xevious2030 May 09, 2019 1:08 PM  

@15 (NC) Courts do not have the constitutional authority to pass or remove legislation. They also do not have the authority to amend the Constitution. They do all of these things. Regularly.

Further. This is the difference between the construct in our heads (or on a piece of paper), and the experience in reality. And it is why people need to learn to get outside of their heads. Because if you do not, you can never be a part of fixing the problem, much less have it even resemble some sort of ideal function.

In general. Legitimate granted human authority is derived, not inherent.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd May 09, 2019 1:09 PM  

Balam wrote:That's a pretty harsh metric because some industries have very close required assets to income ratios.

Base the high tax rate on a combination of income/capital ratio and total revenue? Exxon and Conoco don't get dinged despite large total revenues because of the large denominator in their income/capital ratios, while lower earning companies with much less capital invested get hyper-taxed.

Exxon is already broken up a bit: there is Exxon operations and Exxon development and probably some other arms I haven't run into. Technically they are separate companies.

We would have to make sure that the breakup was real, and not just a paper separation. Probably Vox's idea of suspending business temporarily or permanently, and jailing corporate officers and board members, is a better way to deal with corporate lawbreaking.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 09, 2019 1:19 PM  

"Facebook owns at least one lamppost company. You can't win."

Save a lamppost, use a tree.

Blogger Vulgar_Display May 09, 2019 1:24 PM  

You can try to get off Facebook but it's pointless. They use your friends and family that are on there to create shadow profiles for everyone who is even remotely connected with another person.

It doesn't matter if you have a profile. Your data is on there.

Blogger Cloudswrest May 09, 2019 1:40 PM  

"If the corporation commits a crime, the corporation goes to jail. No natural person is permitted to engage in normal business operations when in jail, neither should juridical persons be allowed to do so."

Such things are fine if you're a leviathan. Facebook employs 35000+ well paid, politically active people. There are probably a million more who would be unhappy to see their stock investments drop. In addition it has the support of virtually every Lefty in the country. So good luck with that.

Blogger Up from the pond May 09, 2019 1:41 PM  

DonReynolds wrote:They are not going to accept peaceful coexistence as a compromise.

Agreed. This realization is dawning on our people in a big way lately.

Blogger Balam May 09, 2019 1:53 PM  

Vulgar_Display wrote:You can try to get off Facebook but it's pointless. They use your friends and family that are on there to create shadow profiles for everyone who is even remotely connected with another person.

It doesn't matter if you have a profile. Your data is on there.


So? When enough people stop, it dies. MySpace would still be around if people followed your lead.

Blogger SirHamster May 09, 2019 2:05 PM  

Vulgar_Display wrote:You can try to get off Facebook but it's pointless. They use your friends and family that are on there to create shadow profiles for everyone who is even remotely connected with another person.

It doesn't matter if you have a profile. Your data is on there.


Never pay attention to anyone who thinks like this or advocates like this.

"It's pointless! Give up!"

That's a rationalization for inaction and letting your enemies win.

Get off Facebook as far as you can, purge what data you can, remember that Facebook is your enemy and wants you silenced and dead.

When enemies have declared war on you, you go to war until you win, or you have died doing your part to win. Every bit counts. Take incremental action while you look for opportunities for decisive action.

Blogger cheddarman May 09, 2019 2:18 PM  

It would be glorious if Trump ordered a drone strike on Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is an enemy commander in the culture war against America

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 May 09, 2019 2:37 PM  

I remember years when Alex Jones was talking about how Zuckerberg was getting the keys to the Bilderberg kingdom as it were.

And now MySpace is gone and he's one of the richest men in the world with his social media site that is free for everyone to use.

This isn't a free market situation. This is globalist conspiracy against the rest of us.

Blogger Ken Prescott May 09, 2019 4:01 PM  

Require publicly traded companies to cash out their outstanding stock if they're sent to jail. Stockholders are first in line. Company funds remaining go to secured debtors, then unsecured. Remaining debt attaches to the C-officers and employees in proportion to their compensation packages. Drone in the server farm pays $500 and he's done. CEO has to come up with a billion or so, and his stock shares are now worthless.

Blogger Himself May 09, 2019 4:43 PM  

I'm surprised no one mentioned this so far.

Declare them a publisher. They are, in fact, curating content no different than a newspaper or TV station. They should be regulated as such. I'm not even sure it requires a law that isn't in place already.

They then become liable for all their content. Death by a thousand cuts by slip-and-fall lawyers.

The next thing is to define your data as any other "paper and effect", and enforce punishment, not only of any mis-use, but for using your data without your permission.

@8 is right though. They are rapidly destroying their utility. I consider facebook, instagram, and twitter to be utterly useless. And that was before the ban-hammer.

Blogger Balam May 09, 2019 6:50 PM  

Himself wrote:I'm surprised no one mentioned this so far.

Declare them a publisher. They are, in fact, curating content no different than a newspaper or TV station. They should be regulated as such. I'm not even sure it requires a law that isn't in place already.

They then become liable for all their content. Death by a thousand cuts by slip-and-fall lawyers.


I've heard the same thing said about Reddit as well. Same with enforcing treason laws against the globalists, same with enforcing assault and mask laws against Antifa. We should be legally allowed to kill them in the streets by now. These wretched businesses all do illegal things and the case where the law is brought against them by the 'amenable authorities' is rare. Appealing to the authorities has not been a winning strategy. I think it's because the very first thing a corp does is bribe the regulators that could bring about the changes you describe, as a matter of business.

However we do have a good blueprint of action with the death of Gawker, which shows it's possible to wipe someone out in one sweep. Why did Gawker die when so many other leftist bastions didn't? The secret, it appears, is to get a good lawyer to wage the war not the police or government officials (being rich like Peter Thiel helps too). Force them into court, which I think is happening with Indiegogo, and fight them there.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/10/nick-sandmann-lawsuit-washington-post-files-dismiss-teens-case/3421926002/
This link is about Nick Sandmann suing CNN and the Washington Post for 250 million - that's gonna hurt those media giants a lot sooner and a lot harder than pleading to a congressman to change how companies are regulated. Or hoping that the government slams CNN for violating this or that law. Hit them with the lawyer first, hope to change the regulation after.

Blogger Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) May 09, 2019 7:15 PM  

When the government broke up Standard Oil it only made Rockefeller richer. I get the feeling lately that all this talk about breaking up big social is scripted. Trump had a meeting with Jack Dorsey and then Twitter actually ramps up the banning of "conservatives." (Most recently David Horowitz - they don't get more true conservative than that!) Donald Trump Jr. and others are always complaining about it. Either this is just a show to give Fox News viewers something else to be indignant about, or they're actually going to do something about it. But if the latter, I suspect it will be very much in line with what they did to Standard Oil, rather than any sort of real reform.

Blogger sammibandit May 09, 2019 9:00 PM  

Ridiculous way to break them up would be to force them to act like a department of the government. Limit their ability to affect change and incur needless costs.

Make them physically print, ship, and mail weekly data divisionwide to each and every user. No-fixed address users must receive their reports. Seperate copies for each division. To limit sabatoge the logistics chain must be dispersed with a series of drop points staffed by Post Master General's company running turnaround trucks. If the users are commodities they need to come with way bills. The costs would force the support of steel, lumber and fuel or a break up.

Blogger Brett baker May 09, 2019 9:01 PM  

Bell was broken up in 1982. It was still ARPANet, and they were, at most, a few thousand cell phones.

Blogger Vulgar_Display May 10, 2019 12:07 PM  

Letting your enemies win is abandoning one of the battlefields of the culture war which is what you are advocating.

Instead of taking your ball and going home like a little pussy how about you stay on there spreading truth and let them kick you off.

You advocated giving up, not me.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 10, 2019 10:08 PM  

@43

"So? When enough people stop, it dies. MySpace would still be around if people followed your lead."

Myspace died because Tom foolishly let idiot teenage girls put CPU-intensive animations (example: falling, swirling, spinning snowflakes) and obnoxiously loud music sound files on their web pages -- land on the wrong face-book page, and your computer would slow to a crawl for 10 minutes (3 minutes of which was just to get your mouse in the right places to click to close the page) while blaring some horrid singer singing some horrid song that only appeals to 14-year old girls.

After a while, NOBODY would click on a myspace.com page unless they knew EXACTLY what they were going to find before the page opened up.

By comparison, rick-rolling wasn't even a local citation level of offence compared to the internet felonies committed by far too many myspace users.

Funny thing about Facebook -- originally, it was ONLY for Ivy League students... users were required to have an email account at an Ivy League school. A couple years later it was opened up to college students -- the only addresses allowed for signing up were .edu addresses.

Now, no student with a .edu address wants to be near it.

Blogger Paul M May 12, 2019 2:50 AM  

Hold company directors accountable for the crimes of the companies they direct. No "but I didn't know!" defence. And don't just jail or fine them: ban them from holding other positions of fiancial trust. That includes directorships, practising as an accountant or lawyer, even directing a family trust.

A company is just a facade, a mask. Behind that mask are actual people committing crimes.

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