Saturday, February 17, 2018
The rise and monopolistic behaviour of the giant American internet platform companies is contributing mightily to the US government's impotence. These companies have often played an innovative and liberating role. But as Facebook and Google have grown ever more powerful, they have become obstacles to innovation, and have caused a variety of problems of which we are only now beginning to become aware. [snip] Social media companies' true customers are their advertisers. But a new business model is gradually emerging, based not only on advertising but also on selling products and services directly to users. They exploit the data they control, bundle the services they offer, and use discriminatory pricing to keep more of the benefits that they would otherwise have to share with consumers. This enhances their profitability even further, but the bundling of services and discriminatory pricing undermine the efficiency of the market economy.
Social media companies deceive their users by manipulating their attention, directing it towards their own commercial purposes, and deliberately engineering addiction to the services they provide. This can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents.
There is a similarity between internet platforms and gambling companies. Casinos have developed techniques to hook customers to the point that they gamble away all of their money, even money they don't have.
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