Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem - American Affairs Journal: "Law can help resolve these tensions. Competition laws take aim at the functional sovereignty of large tech platforms, and antitrust authorities should have blocked Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, instead of letting its juggernaut of domination over communication roll up entities capable of providing alternative modes of association online. Ten, twenty, or one hundred social networks could eventually emerge, if competition law were properly enforced, and interoperability standards could assure smooth connections among confederations of social networks, just as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers can all talk to one another seamlessly. If that diversity emerged, we could worry less about a few persons in Silicon Valley essentially serving as a world Supreme Court deciding which expression is appropriate for a so-called global community.
When industrial giants can’t be broken up, there are still many ways to neutralize their power. Utility-style regulation mitigates the worst failures of absentee owners, as well as the caprices of the powerful. The state can require Google to carry certain content on YouTube, just as it has required cable networks to include local news. Moreover, whenever policymakers are afraid that firms like Google, Amazon, or Uber are taking too large a cut of transactions, they can take a page out of the playbook of insurance regulators, which often limit insurers to taking 15 to 20 percent of premiums (the rest must be spent on health care). That kind of limit recognizes the infrastructure-like quality of these firms’ services." 'via Blog this'