Brishen Rogers in the Boston Review:
The tech giants are facing a moment of reckoning. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Uber all grew explosively over the last decade, in part by delivering real convenience and benefits to consumers. For this we forgave their more venial sins, such as unfair competition, copyright infringement, data hoarding, and price discrimination. But recent years have brought one revelation after another around privacy issues—including Facebook’s sharing of data with the dark arts firm Cambridge Analytica—and ever-growing worries about the tech giants’ monopoly powers.
As a result, Mark Zuckerberg was hauled into Congress last year, and Senator Mark Warner has sketched an agenda to combat misinformation on social media platforms, and to better protect user privacy. More recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren has promised that her presidential administration would enact “big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition — including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.” The approaches are complementary, but distinct: Warner seeks to regulate the tech giants’ activities in order to promote public values, while Warren seeks to limit and alter their fundamental powers.
There is also a third option, which would be just as momentous: workplace democracy.