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The most benign view of Google, Facebook, and Amazon is that any social or political disruption and turmoil these behemoths have caused is a side-effect of the beneficial services they provide, and any over-sized market power they have is the result of good old-fashioned hard work or an accident of economics and technology.
But what if that’s not the case? Dipayan Ghosh is a former Facebook staffer and a former policy advisor to the Obama White House who now runs the Digital Platforms and Democracy Project at Harvard, and the author of a new book called Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design. Ghosh argues that these companies are monopolists, and that they engage in a wide variety of disturbing conduct—much of it involving the data of their users—not accidentally but deliberately. “I believe that Facebook, Google, and Amazon should be seen as out-and-out monopolists that have harmed the American economy in various ways, and have the potential to do much greater harm should their implicit power go uncurbed,” he writes.
All this week, we’ve been discussing some of the themes in Ghosh’s book—including privacy, competition, algorithmic accountability, and the idea of a new social contract—in a series of roundtables hosted on Galley, CJR’s discussion platform. The Tuesday roundtable started with a one-on-one conversation about privacy with Ghosh, followed by a day-long open discussion that included Ed Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton and a former Deputy Chief Technology Officer with the
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/are-digital-giants-like-facebook-destructive-by-design.php