Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University who specializes in antitrust issues, says that large tech companies have become too big and pose a threat to the future of American democracy.
‘We live in America, which has a strong and proud tradition of breaking up companies that are too big for inefficient reasons,’ Wu told The Verge.
‘We need to reverse this idea that it’s not an American tradition. We’ve broken up dozens of companies.’
Wu makes the case for breaking up tech giants in his new book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.
He says that the U.S. government made a mistake when it did not intervene in Facebook’s acquisition of two competitors – WhatsApp and Instagram.
Wu argues that Facebook was able to gain monopolistic control over the social media market by buying two of its rivals.
‘I think if you took a hard look at the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, the argument that the effects of those acquisitions have been anticompetitive would be easy to prove for a number of reasons,’ says Wu.
He says that breaking up Facebook is not as difficult as it may seem.
‘What would be the harm? You’ll have three competitors,’ Wu says.
‘It’s not “Oh my god, if you get rid of WhatsApp and Instagram, well then the whole world’s going to fall apart”.
‘It would be like “Okay, now you have some companies actually trying to offer you an alternative to Facebook”.’
Wu’s sentiments appear to be a reflection of a growing backlash against tech companies who have amassed considerable power and influence over the public discourse.
Facebook and Twitter executives assured Congress on Wednesday that they are aggressively working to root out foreign attempts to sow discord in America, and they pledged to better protect their social networks against manipulation during the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.
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Source: Daily Mail