48 votes

Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook

26 comments

  1. [8]
    Gully_Foyles Link
    I am trying to wrap my head around why she did this. She's painted a huge target on her back for a topic that the average Americans doesn't really care about. If she wanted to tackle something...

    I am trying to wrap my head around why she did this. She's painted a huge target on her back for a topic that the average Americans doesn't really care about. If she wanted to tackle something like this, do it after you get in office.

    If this is a move to try and distance herself from Sander's pseudo-socialism, it's only going to serve to alienate her from both the right and the left of the democratic party. I think this is a potentially campaign-killing move.

    She was my most likely vote in the next election, but now it looks like that would only be a protest vote. I'm questioning if the Democrats really have what it takes to win the next election if this fragmentation of the party continues.

    9 votes
    1. alyaza Link Parent
      i'm not really following how this indicates fragmentation other than that it's another example of a candidate forging their own policies instead of hoping the party policy is sufficient for voters...

      She was my most likely vote in the next election, but now it looks like that would only be a protest vote. I'm questioning if the Democrats really have what it takes to win the next election if this fragmentation of the party continues.

      i'm not really following how this indicates fragmentation other than that it's another example of a candidate forging their own policies instead of hoping the party policy is sufficient for voters to accept them

      10 votes
    2. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Gully_Foyles (edited ) Link Parent
        In hindsight, "differentiate" might have been a better word to use than distance. My point being, I wonder if this is more of an attempt to make her stand out from the platform Sander's is running...

        In hindsight, "differentiate" might have been a better word to use than distance. My point being, I wonder if this is more of an attempt to make her stand out from the platform Sander's is running on.

        They do both align in that they see the centralization of personal wealth and corporate power within the US as very large issues, maybe the largest issues that both of their campaigns seek to address, but I feel they both take different views on how that problem should be tackled. Mr. Sanders seeks to spread wealth more generously through welfare and social reforms whereas Mrs. Warren seeks to take the fight directly to the large corporations.

        My main worry that I tried to communicate in my original post is that I'm worried that these two running platforms will split the vote in what some would already consider this leftist enclave of the democratic party.

        This is also coincidentally why my #1 voting issue is transition away from a First Past the Poll system to a better democratic system like Single Transferable Vote. Weaker voting systems further limit our democratic input by making it more necessary to vote for candidates that we feel are more likely to win than ones that more closely reflect our personal concerns and viewpoints. They also make it easier for those in power to manipulate public opinion and sway election results (see gerrymandering as well).

        1 vote
    3. moocow1452 Link Parent
      IMO, people are a little weirded out on just how much Facebook has on you, and Warren is banking on that sentiment being bipartisan and something that the populace will be more and more worried...

      IMO, people are a little weirded out on just how much Facebook has on you, and Warren is banking on that sentiment being bipartisan and something that the populace will be more and more worried about. It's a gamble for sure, but Republicans have no love for Big Tech, and the public is in a "Break all the Things!" kind of mood. It might work out for her.

      3 votes
    4. [2]
      lol Link Parent
      Personally I don’t think it’s necessarily a terrible idea to break up these companies, it just seems so improbable for names that big

      Personally I don’t think it’s necessarily a terrible idea to break up these companies, it just seems so improbable for names that big

      2 votes
      1. Gully_Foyles Link Parent
        I think it's definitely a good idea to break up these companies. Too much consolidation stifles growth and experimentation. Larger companies can leverage their greater bargaining power to run...

        I think it's definitely a good idea to break up these companies. Too much consolidation stifles growth and experimentation. Larger companies can leverage their greater bargaining power to run smaller competitors out of business, see Walmart for standard operating procedure.

        The problem is that all these large companies are now major players in lobbying and campaign donation. Campaigns are predominantly won by the candidate that spends more, and I can't think of a worse foe to take on than these mega-corps with deep pockets.

        3 votes
    5. Pilgrim Link Parent
      Your thoughts mirror my own. Who exactly is this pleasing? This swings the pendulum too far. And that's assuming they implemented a break up in competent manner and I have zero faith that any...

      Your thoughts mirror my own. Who exactly is this pleasing? This swings the pendulum too far. And that's assuming they implemented a break up in competent manner and I have zero faith that any politician would get this right.

      1 vote
    6. Gaywallet Link Parent
      While the president has the authority to break up companies, they don't have the authority to pass law that would prevent them from merging again. I don't necessarily see this as a deal breaker,...

      While the president has the authority to break up companies, they don't have the authority to pass law that would prevent them from merging again. I don't necessarily see this as a deal breaker, it just seems a bit absurd to be doing before an election.

      1 vote
  2. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      That... does not sound like a practice Americans would approve of. COMMUNISM COMMUNISM COMMUNISM

      A good start, but insufficient until you start talking about nationalization.

      That... does not sound like a practice Americans would approve of.

      COMMUNISM COMMUNISM COMMUNISM

      6 votes
  3. [2]
    jlpoole Link
    Ms. Warren probably has put a target on her forehead for companies who feel threatened by her. We've witnessed how outsiders have manipulated things to affect the outcome of an election on the...

    Ms. Warren probably has put a target on her forehead for companies who feel threatened by her. We've witnessed how outsiders have manipulated things to affect the outcome of an election on the Internet, just watch how companies who have an agenda, e.g. to make Elizabeth Warren look like a bad choice, quietly try to paint a picture. They have the power. They profess they will not use it. But history tells us despite lofty goals to remain neutral, companies eventually succumb to doing what's best for their perceived self-interest: staying big. [edit] ... and getting bigger.

    9 votes
    1. tiredlemma Link Parent
      At my company (bigger than many countries) we have a PAC that employees above a certain pay grade are eligible to join. It isn’t aimed at Republican or Democrat, its sole purpose is to pour money...

      At my company (bigger than many countries) we have a PAC that employees above a certain pay grade are eligible to join. It isn’t aimed at Republican or Democrat, its sole purpose is to pour money on candidates a db lobbying efforts that are beneficial to the continued march of the Vampire Squid. Our PAC (of which I am a member by convention) has a budget that makes the numbers thrown around during election season seem silly. Senator Warren will definitely run afoul of extremely nasty, well funded, and determined enemies making statements like the OP posted.

      7 votes
  4. [3]
    alyaza Link
    similar article that i don't think is unique enough to post outside of here on warren's desire to break up apple: Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too

    similar article that i don't think is unique enough to post outside of here on warren's desire to break up apple:

    Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too

    “Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store. It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store,” she said. “They don’t get to do both at the same time.”
    Her issue with Apple lines up with the same problem she’s raised with Google and Amazon: These companies get a competitive advantage in search results on their platforms. Right now, Google, for example, can prioritize its restaurant rating results over Yelp’s. Amazon can identify which products are doing well on its platform, start making them, and then push them to consumers over other brands.
    “If you run a platform where others come to sell, then you don’t get to sell your own items on the platform because you have two comparative advantages. One, you’ve sucked up information about every buyer and every seller before you’ve made a decision about what you’re going to sell,” Warren said. “And second, you have the capacity — because you run the platform — to prefer your product over anyone else’s product. It gives an enormous comparative advantage to the platform.”

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Gully_Foyles Link Parent
        Yes, I agree with her argument that they should probably be broken up, but I think stating how they should be broken up is presumptuous of her. The proper way to do it should be through an...

        Yes, I agree with her argument that they should probably be broken up, but I think stating how they should be broken up is presumptuous of her. The proper way to do it should be through an official anti-trust investigation with subject-matter experts in this area.

    2. Thunder-ten-tronckh Link Parent
      She has a good point that I am 100% convinced the general populace will ignore when debating just how "leftist" these ideas are.

      She has a good point that I am 100% convinced the general populace will ignore when debating just how "leftist" these ideas are.

  5. [8]
    izik1 Link
    Would it be possible for me to get an ELI 13? I'm still new to reading this kind of stuff.

    Would it be possible for me to get an ELI 13? I'm still new to reading this kind of stuff.

    2 votes
    1. [7]
      moocow1452 Link Parent
      If you're familiar with Bell Telephone, short story is that it got big because it was first to market with the telephone, and became THE telephone company for a time. In a more connected America,...

      This part of Warren's plan would require Amazon Basics—a line of products made by Amazon—to be separated from the Amazon Marketplace. Google's ad exchange and Google Search would also have to be split apart, with Google's search business being spun off from the company. Since Warren said this would be accomplished with legislation, it would require cooperation from Congress.

      The other major part of Warren's plan would use existing antitrust laws to "unwind anti-competitive mergers" such as Amazon's purchases of Whole Foods and Zappos, Facebook's purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google's purchases of Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick

      If you're familiar with Bell Telephone, short story is that it got big because it was first to market with the telephone, and became THE telephone company for a time. In a more connected America, this was kind of a big deal. When it changed over from novelity to industry in it's own right, the government decided to break up Bell into AT&T and the other telephone companies, and until they all merged back together, we had phone companies that were competing against each other. From my understanding, Warren is proposing that we do that to the FAANG companies, in such a way that they can't Terminator their way back together or buy up adjacent companies that serve their interests to own. Google Search can't own Google Ads which can't own Google Mail.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        Jedi Link Parent
        Google Ads is what makes Google Search profitable.

        Google Ads is what makes Google Search profitable.

        5 votes
        1. moocow1452 Link Parent
          Competitive, yes, but Warren is arguing that Google doesn't need to contain an ad agency within it's corporation to make it's search profitable. It could outsource it's advertising and not be able...

          Competitive, yes, but Warren is arguing that Google doesn't need to contain an ad agency within it's corporation to make it's search profitable. It could outsource it's advertising and not be able to give it's own tools and metrics priority treatment.

          7 votes
      2. [3]
        base_class Link Parent
        How would that work for a company like Google? Won't they all still be part of Alphabet? In that case, would it even matter to them?

        How would that work for a company like Google? Won't they all still be part of Alphabet? In that case, would it even matter to them?

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          moocow1452 Link Parent
          Presumably each part of Alphabet would be their own company.

          Presumably each part of Alphabet would be their own company.

          1 vote
          1. hungariantoast Link Parent
            I don't know for sure if this would break up Alphabet itself, but it would presumably mean that Google's ad business can't transfer and relate data with the search engine and other services, if...

            Platform utilities would not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.

            I don't know for sure if this would break up Alphabet itself, but it would presumably mean that Google's ad business can't transfer and relate data with the search engine and other services, if those are broken up into separate entities.

            So Google would become Google Ads, Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps. These would all be individual companies, possibly still owned by Alphabet (and fuck, they might already be, I don't actually know for sure) and they wouldn't be able to interoperate with each other's user data. They could still employ the same data collection software individually, but this wouldn't be as effective.

            That's my understanding of this anyways, and I could be wrong about it.

            1 vote
      3. izik1 Link Parent
        I see, I am not familiar with Bell Telephone, but the rest of the explanation makes up for that gap in my knowledge. Thank you.

        I see, I am not familiar with Bell Telephone, but the rest of the explanation makes up for that gap in my knowledge. Thank you.

        1 vote
  6. [2]
    rickdg Link
    Anyone who would take this matter seriously would start with FB and take whatever progress they could get. Unlike the other mega-corps, FB screws everyone, their customers and their users. Plus,...

    Anyone who would take this matter seriously would start with FB and take whatever progress they could get. Unlike the other mega-corps, FB screws everyone, their customers and their users. Plus, if it's not blatantly ilegal, they're doing it to get ahead and crush any competition. It's a no brainer, nobody likes them, go after FB.

    2 votes
    1. Deimos Link Parent
      There was an interesting observation about this in Zeynep Tufekci's article about Mark Zuckerberg's recent blog post:

      There was an interesting observation about this in Zeynep Tufekci's article about Mark Zuckerberg's recent blog post:

      Another point that Mr. Zuckerberg emphasized in his post was his intention to make Facebook’s messaging platforms, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, “interoperable.” He described this decision as part of his “privacy-focused vision,” though it is not clear how doing so — which would presumably involve sharing user data — would serve privacy interests.

      Merging those apps just might, however, serve Facebook’s interest in avoiding antitrust remedies. Just as regulators are realizing that allowing Facebook to gobble up all its competitors (including WhatsApp and Instagram) may have been a mistake, Mr. Zuckerberg decides to scramble the eggs to make them harder to separate into independent entities. What a coincidence.

      1 vote
  7. davidb Link
    It's an interesting idea and something that seems necessary for competition, but also something that seems practically impossible to achieve both from a view of regulation (how do you structure it...

    It's an interesting idea and something that seems necessary for competition, but also something that seems practically impossible to achieve both from a view of regulation (how do you structure it so they don't end up like AT&T all over again) and political will.

    I'd much rather see decentralized platforms replace these "platform utilities" with lower surcharges and better privacy as their selling points. Maybe this type of regulatory action is necessary to spur adoption and development of those platforms?

    1 vote