Proposed Warning Label for Facebook

The keyword is "moat"

created Feb 19, 2020

When Big Tech claims that it's open to government regulations, it means that Big Tech wants laws that will squash small companies and future startups, especially competitors.

Reminds me of a comment posted one year ago today in this HN thread, titled "Regulate Facebook and Twitter? The Case Is Getting Stronger."

Regulation is one of the best ways for incumbents [Facebook, Twitter, Google, Medium, Netflix, etc.] to build a competitive moat against prospective new entrants.

This is a Hacker News thread from yesterday.

"Facebook asks for a moat of regulations it already meets ("

For security and privacy reasons, I wont link to the TechCrunch article. I'll mention this article from TechDirt.

"Mark Zuckerberg Suggests Getting Rid Of Section 230; Maybe People Should Stop Pretending It's A Gift To Facebook"

Well, we can add Mark Zuckerberg to the list of folks willing to toss Section 230 liability protections out the window -- contrary to the claims of many that Facebook is the leading supporter of that law. He's now making it clear that he's open to a big modification of the law.

Over and over and over again over the past few years, politicians (and some media folks) have kept insisting that Section 230 "was a gift" to big internet companies like Facebook. Indeed, practically every discussion of regulating "big tech" seems to revolve around eliminating parts or all of Section 230. But, as we've explained many times over, Section 230 is actually just about the proper application of liability to the party that actually violates the law -- rather than the tools they use. And this is important, especially for smaller companies, because a big giant like a Facebook or a Google can deal with much greater legal liability. They can afford all the lawyers it takes to fight court battles. Smaller companies? Not so much.

Indeed, in a study we put out last year, we showed that Section 230 actually increases competition and leads to more investment, since it makes sure that smaller internet platforms can actually get off the ground and not be stifled.

And the reality is that Facebook, in particular, has already recognized that it can survive without Section 230 and that taking away 230 helps it against competitors. You just need to look back two years ago, when Facebook -- specifically Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg -- agreed to buck the rest of the industry and support FOSTA to recognize that the company has made a calculated bet that it can better withstand such lawsuits than competitors. And given the company's penchant for trying to either acquire or stomp out competitors, hurting those smaller players is now a strategic choice.

Same with Netflix a few years ago, regarding Net Neutrality. Several years ago when Netflix was smaller, Netflix supported Net Neutrality. But a few yeas ago when Netflix had become a behemoth, Netflix was indifferent or uncaring about Net Neutrality because Netflix, like Facebook, had their wealth and power and to hell with anyone else starting out, especially potential competitors.

Back to yesterday's HN thread, which contains over 240 comments. This is the top comment where the person suggests a warning label be applied to Facebook.

There should be only one regulation for fb, display following warning on all pages/screens:

Statutory Warning: This product is specifically designed to cause behavioral addiction so you are guided down a slippery slope of over consumption & that is how this company makes money. Overuse of this product is known to cause - anxiety, depression, low self esteem, constant craving for attention, short attention spans, inability to concentrate on tasks, inhibited social development in the real world & possibly general "unhappiness", especially among the young & impressionable.

Feb 20, 2020 article titled Facebook must not be allowed to dictate how it gets regulated

Mark Zuckerberg has outlined his proposal for social media regulation. The bottom line? Passing the buck

From a policy paper published by Facebook to coincide with Zuckerberg’s trip to Europe, entitled “Charting a way forward: online content regulation”, it’s even clearer that the direction he wants to take us on is a road to nowhere. This paper argues against establishing liability on social media companies for failing to remove illegal and harmful content. It also warns against creating mandatory standards for content removal, and tougher enforcement of citizens data rights. Instead it proposes that there should be “periodic public reporting of enforcement data”, based of course on self-declaration by the company, without any independent external audit.

The same outrage can be directed at Twitter, the cesspool of the internet, which is a worse service than Facebook, in my opinion.

Facebook’s paper calls for global standards on internet regulation knowing of course that reaching a consensus between the USA, China and Europe on these issues will be impossible. Another clear tactic for trying to kick all of this into the long grass.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The bottom of that article contained social media sharing icons for ... Facebook and Twitter. An email sharing icon existed too, which is fine.

The media look absurd when it bashes Facebook and Zuckerberg while still enslaving itself to Facebook's traffic.

What a shock. Wired has a Facebook page.

The media should LEAD by example and break free from Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. But that won't happen. It's easier for the media to blame these tech companies for the media's problems while at the same time, the media partners with or uses every new product, offered by these companies.