SMASH FACEBOOK: this is demanded by democracy activists in the USA and they have a good point. Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, then the registration administration for many pages… A democratically-politically dubious concentration power is gathered here. The same applies to Google, Apple and Amazon. At least these four, but Samsung and a couple of others are also not far off.

Now then, whether one must or indeed can destroy the corporations is anyone’s guess. What use is e.g. a division into x companies if they are then brought into line through the same owner structure?

What is of core importance is something else: the services must be disentangled, their power consists of the networking of databases. Then we need full transparency about who is gathering what data. And full transparency for algorithms from a few million users (not for small platforms, they can go ahead and have a competitive advantage against the large ones).

Such a disentanglement could also be prescribed b Europe for services on its territory, we do not have to wait for the USA.

Does that sound radical? Now, I am a competition speaker in the EP and I am constantly confronted with cases such as these: if a company may take over another must it be split into two, must it pay a penalty for making use of its position of power? That is also how it should be, because economic theory shows clearly that monopolies and cartels are damaging.

What is being monitored at the moment is only the competition. The market is being protected. If the market is threatened, legislation intervenes firmly.

But why do we only protect the market with these methods, why not also our democracy? And why, thinking further, not also our environment, our climate? The Bayer-Monsanto merger had to be allowed because the market was not threatened enough. The ecological side was not examined.

Major corporations form power concentrations that endanger our democracy and our environment, in the case of Facebook and Google also our public discourse.

Boycotts by individual consumers are not enough, it must be regulated politically. I am therefore consciously also posting it on Facebook: a great new space for political discussion has been created here. It should not be given up, it should be protected against manipulation and power abuse.

A few weeks ago, I submitted the demand for the consideration of democracy and environment for the annual competition report and achieved a majority for it. For the next report I was selected as an author. I will fight for discussing this topic widely at the EP. The present-day Facebook hearing creates an awareness of it among many delegates.

 

Posted by Michel Reimon