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Glenn Harlan Reynolds v Social Media

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on June 18, 2019 14:58

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In his new Insta-Book SOCIAL MEDIA UPHEAVAL, University of Tennessee law professor, internet entrepreneur, webmaster, blogger, author, and pundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds has come forward to suggest a needed path to escape our current imprisonment in the Social Media Matrix.

When a Blogosphere pioneer takes on Corporate America in a 64-page broadside about the future of the internet titled Social Media Upheaval, it's time to pull up a ring-side seat and concentrate on the action.

One is left wondering why Instapundit, established to cover 9/11-related news and commentary in 2001, never became a mega-corporation like Facebook or the Huffington Post.

Perhaps Wall Street never really was a non-political marketplace in the first place. Maybe "investors" were subsidizing political operatives through financial manipulation, buying good PR for their cronies, while burying competitors through capital strikes, boycotts, gray lists or black lists?

Maybe legacy media chose "winners" based upon Old School Ties, and other pre-industrial connections such as ancestry, geography, ethnicity, and political loyalty.

Suppose Social Media and Social Networking were not the ultimate flowering of internet freedom, but rather an attempt by the Establishment to impose an iron cage of bureaucracy on the New Frontier of the World Wide Web?

Whether by accident or design, that is exactly what has taken place. 

Now comes Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee Law Professor, Internet entrepreneur, webmaster, blogger, author, and pundit to suggest a path to escape our current Matrix.

After an abridged history of the internet, in which Reynolds points out that regulation would only enhance the power of those Teddy Roosevelt called "malefactors of great wealth," he relies upon FDR's principle that “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob” to call for the breakup of social media monopolies under anti-trust law. 

Obviously Facebook didn't buy Instagram and What's App by chance, Google didn't buy YouTube to enhance competition, and so forth. Rather, Big Tech were engaged in a conscious conspiracy in restraint of trade--not only in economic trade, but also in cahoots with a political party that sought monopoly status in politics, restraining trade in the political marketplace as well as the financial one.

Indeed, should legal proceedings begin, one might find a "smoking gun" where financial and regulatory favors were provided as a quid pro quo for political activity--a corrupt bargain that might make Teapot Dome look like a tea-party, and 1950s Quiz Show and payola scandals look like a picnic.

Although Reynolds pulls his punches and refrains from doomsday scenarios, his conclusion is on-target and his recommendations should be followed by the Trump Administration with all deliberate speed:

"Antitrust scrutiny of monopolies and collusion will do more for the integrity of social media, and the protection of society from hysteria and misinformation, than regulation of content."

Such an antitrust effort would be comparable to the breakup of Bell Telephone in 1982 that resulted in the telecommunications revolution which produced the fax machine, mobile phones, and cheap long distance that contributed to the Reagan administration's economic boom.

Instead of "demonetizing" objectionable content, the Trump Administration could "demonetize" objectionable corporate CEOs -- like Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on June 18, 2019 14:58

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Source: CNET

Commentary: If live video can't die, then the Facebooks, Twitters and YouTubes of the world need to reform it.

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