SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES – TWEAKING THE WORLD
IT companies started in virgin territory and given the benefits shown to the world, the governments have been more than kind with them, with freebies, tax benefits, tax holidays, land and laws suitable for them. This happened not only in the US but nearly all over the world. They become the barons of the New Gilded Age, the companies and their tech entrepreneurs were put on the pedestal and more often than not they become the reigning deities of the world. Top five and top ten companies globally came from the IT stable and their clout kept on increasing.
The first attempt to put legality on the neck of Microsoft Corporation through the Antitrust Act in the year 2001 did not yield the desired results. There have been any number of attempts to legally control these companies but has been of any avail, but some penalty, fine or compensation has happened in a couple of instances. None of these legal adventures by different countries have been able to arrest their tide. Lots of these services come in air waves with literally no control across the globe but for China. The Senate Antitrust hearing of 2020 of the Big Four; Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google became a show for the consumption of TV audiences across the globe. The indications were clear but it didn’t move any further.
IT Behemoths today have an epithet attached to their name, Super States. In the Apple Vs FBI case concerning an order requiring apple to create custom software to assist the FBI in hacking a seized iPhone in a terrorist case, ended up in the wilderness. The nascent social media companies grew into giants in the meantime. They even went ahead of their well-established brethren. China has its own companies. Nowhere, any country has either been able to control them or get their tax share of the revenue generated out of that country. On the social side, addiction game plans are laid out by these companies. The Social Dilemma explains it all.
The Cambridge Analytica – Facebook saga literally proved that Facebook is above law and that too certainly not of the law of third world countries. Mark Zuckerberg either gave parliamentary hearing / senate committees a go by, or got away with utterly unconvincing answers. In the mob lynching cases in India, WhatsApp got away with a name’s sake tweaking and some name provided for redressal. They are so strong and hard headed that the law enforcement / investigative agencies go to them. Facebook had refused to remove the doctored Nancy Pelosi video. Twitter permanently suspended the account of incumbent US President. Flouting privacy and data protection is their norm. They have faced a number of battles and come out unscathed.
THE SYNTHESIS OF THE 21st CENTURY DIGITAL AGE WITH 20th CENTURY DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS / LAW AND 19th CENTURY MINDSET CANNOT HAPPEN.