One started off life as a search engine. The other was a project started by a bunch of university students in 2004. At their time of launch probably neither Google or Facebook’s initial management probably had any idea in the slightest about what their brain child’s would morph into. But 14 and 15 years later respectively, with billions of dollars in assets, world wide influence best denoted by their dominance of the social media and search engine markets, Google and Facebook are now facing a monster of their own making: a growing movement around the world to rein them in.
It is not only contrary to the spirit of a competitive market place to have such large companies in existence, but also it threatens to control society in a way most people in the West have not realized. For years we used to think Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook were a good thing and so there was little thought given to the fact that there is no regulatory body capable of monitoring and keeping them in line.
Such is Google’s dominance that it is now starting to ask users for data relating to their health. Why you might ask? To create products that can run on it and further diversify its portfolio. The idea, which may seem innocent enough is not actually all that innocent. I said it wants data about your medical issues – in other words it wants to intrude into your private life and some of your most personal affairs.
When it starts doing that, one has to put their foot down and say “enough is enough”. It is clearly obvious that Google’s insatiable appetite is now becoming a problem, that its regard for privacy is completely insincere. Despite hefty E.U. penalties being handed down to the two companies, Google appears not to be able and/or willing to accept that it is causing major harm . Nor can it accept that to dominate a market in the way it does is not competitive at all. The 90% + control of the entire internet search poses no problems if you believe Google executives.
Another company with a problem is Facebook. The company’s disorganization has been well marked by mistakes in their regular features, such as the removal of the calendar feature that enabled one to track back through posts they put up themselves. A Facebook employee named Roger McNamee decided to expose the crooked interior of his employer. He wanted to show how the activities on Facebook of Russian agents hijacked the U.S. Federal election.
Facebook in August was told it might be subject to as much as E1.6 billion in fines for a massive data breach that may have affected as many as 50 million users.It was a breach that enabled misuse of Spotify, Tinder and other applications. But a bigger question remains for a company too big for its own good and that is whether the Government will have the courage to act.
Do not get me wrong. Both Facebook and Google have their uses and have clearly done very well out of all of the users that post on their pages. But if one is not profoundly disturbed and/or disgusted at the possibility of faceless tech having access to your most intimate medical records, then it is questionable whether you were paying attention. We rely heavily on both to do much, myself included. Both can also be accused of having a non-responsive attitude to regular every day issues – almost like “Facebook Help” is just there to enable the user to do the bare minimum and nothing more.
Are Facebook and Google fit to be run as mega businesses that threaten both societal gains and civic security? I think not and believe that the time is now for breaking them up.