Improving Wetware

Because technology is never the issue

Time to revoke some corporate charters?

Posted by Pete McBreen 27 Mar 2019 at 03:41

With the recent news about bad corporate behavior by facebook, Cambridge Analytica misuse of data, lying about cambridge analytica, asking for phone numbers for login and then using those numbers for advertising targetting, second link, letting scammers search for you by phone number and finally livestreaming murder. Maybe it is time to start the conversation about how to regulate, break up or revoke the corporate charter for some of the larger social media companies.

The argument that they are just a common carrier not responsible for the content does not fly. They are wittingly allowing propaganda, agitprop and other unwelcome content to be disseminated around the world, and benefiting by getting advertisers to pay to be associated with the content. The common carrier excuse worked in for some industries, where the carrier was transmitting content from known providers, but now that the carrier is enabling the publishing and broadcast from any random internet connection, facebook is now the publisher and the carrier. Hence it is responsible for the content.

If it cannot make a valid business model out of properly curated content, then too bad, it does not deserve to exist. There are many business models that society does not allow to exist, and publishing/promoting propaganda, agitprop and dubious content is one of the business models that needs to be controlled by society.

Twitter probably falls into the same category with the way the platform promotes extreme political rhetoric. There is reasonable evidence that multiple elections around the world have been adversely affected by the various social media platforms over the past several years, so before outside influences create more havoc, societies around the world need to come up with a strategy to deal with social media companies that profit from spreading information designed to decrease the quality of life for everyone.