Bigtech – December 26, 2020
By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
Politicians from the right and the left almost never agree on anything, but if there is one thing they all agreed on is the fact that FACEBOOK is too big and too powerful and something must be done to curtail Facebook anti-competitive behavior.
Under the Trump administration Facebook endured more political scrutiny than ever has before. But the changing of the guards at the White House does not mean that Facebook gets a break, in fact, if anything the political scrutiny is about to get worse and anti-Facebook agitators are poised to crank up the pressure.
From lawmakers on Capitol Hill to antitrust enforcers at the Federal Trade Commission, Washington is training its sights on the world’s largest social network like never before.
Biden’s antitrust enforcers will take ownership of a lawsuit the FTC filed this month threatening to dismantle the sprawling company. And his staff will negotiate legislative proposals with congressional leaders who have hammered Facebook for mishandling its users’ personal data and spreading hate speech and dangerous falsehoods.
It is a historic moment of legislative and regulatory upheaval with profound consequences for Facebook and its Silicon Valley brethren. The Trump era opened the floodgates for Facebook detractors, who accused the world’s largest social network of silencing conservatives on one side, and abetting disinformation about the U.S. election on the other.
Now, under Biden, the company’s critics see a prime opportunity to finally tame Facebook for the sake of election integrity, privacy and fair play in the digital era.
Democrats widely accuse Facebook leaders of permitting misinformation to appease Trump and his Republican allies. Biden’s campaign representatives have also lambasted Facebook for choosing not to remove Trump’s misleading claims from their pages and for broadly halting political advertising in the days immediately before and after the Nov. 3 election.
These days Facebook has very few friends in Washington if any. Facebook cannot please the left or the right in the fight against misinformation. Facebook detractors have caused for celebration because one way or the other Washington will find a way to tame the giant. The question is what will Facebook look like when the dust settles?