During a recent talk focused on transparency, consumer advocate and failed presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Congress should examine taking on “a new kind of monopoly” which he says has emerged around the nation’s leading tech companies.
Nader’s remarks came during a discussion on transparency at the Library of Congress to highlight Sunshine Week.
Asked about the recent concern over so-called fake news proliferating on social media websites, Nader said Americans shouldn’t look to major companies like Google, Facebook,
Microsoft and Apple to serve as censors or fact checkers for the information shared across their networks.
“I don’t see Facebook and Microsoft and Google – they’re trapped by the exudations of their own flamingly fast technological developments. They don’t have a clue when they unleash things what the consequences are and they haven’t had it from day one. They don’t have a clue. They just know they’re putting the product out, they can show it’s exciting and the rest of it is going to take care of itself. No, so I really wouldn’t rely on them,” Nader said.
Instead, he contends, grassroots groups should work to point out inaccurate information on the sites with fact-based rebuttals.
Nader’s premise is that massive social media companies, because of the amount of money they make and the wealthy elites that control them, are prone to abuse by power players.
“Eventually it’s going to have to end up in Congress. First Amendment or not, it’s going to have to end up in Congress. You have four major monopolies now, redefined under our antitrust laws someday we hope. You have Google, you have Facebook, you have Microsoft and Apple,” he said.
Nader added: “This is not going to be, ‘Oh don’t mess with our First Amendment rights,’ oh, no, no. This is going to go into the antitrust area and it’s going to go into legislation.”
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