Thomas Gallatin / June 4, 2019

Tech Monopolies Under Scrutiny

Meanwhile, Facebook breaches user privacy to help Leftmedia dox a private citizen.

A vengeful “reporter” doxxed a private citizen, and he apparently had help from Facebook. Over the weekend, The Daily Beast published a story wherein one of the leftist rag’s “journalists,” Kevin Poulsen, engaged in an effort to expose the individual responsible for sharing a viral video depicting Nancy Pelosi appearing to slur her words as if drunk. Poulsen contacted Facebook and requested the user’s personal information, and, according to his story, Facebook actually obliged. The Daily Beast then published the man’s personal details, including his criminal history — and the man claims the Beast outed the wrong guy. Poulsen defended his actions as merely exposing a promulgator of fake news, but in reality this was a hit job intended to destroy the life of a private citizen with whom he disagreed politically.

As National Review’s David French observes, “The real story here is darker. It’s the story of how powerful media will combine with big tech to expose a vulnerable man to public ridicule in an era of vicious intolerance.” Similarly, The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh notes, “This is a stunning breach of privacy by a company that claims to value its users’ privacy above all else. … This transcends politics. Anyone who claims to value privacy ought to be up in arms. … If [Facebook] can do this to some random meme-maker in the Bronx, they can do it to you.”

This episode is just one reminder of why the Big Tech monopoly is so alarming. In fact, as this was playing out, the Justice Department announced that it would take the lead on any antitrust investigations into Google. There have been growing rumblings of a coming antitrust investigation, and this latest announcement apparently signals that it is imminent.

But Google isn’t the only tech company in the government’s crosshairs. The Federal Trade Commission recently secured the rights to investigate Facebook over whether the social-media giant has engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices, which expands the FTC’s current investigation into Facebook’s privacy-related issues. Also, on Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced its own sweeping antitrust probe that would be “a top-to-bottom review of market power held by giant tech platforms.”

Given these tech giants’ unilateral rule changes and wildly inconsistent application — not to mention now outing private citizens — it’s putting it mildly to say a commitment to fair play has not been a featured priority.

(Edited.)

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