The World Wide Web stands for the free, unregulated and continent-spanning exchange of knowledge, opinions and ideas. In reality, this founding myth has often remained a myth.
Four US corporations have long since divided the Internet among themselves. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple decide what people should know, think, feel and buy. Against the GAFA giants – the added market value is around 5.3 trillion dollars – there is resistance.
Although the responsible authorities have not yet officially broken up the tech companies, the tone is getting tougher. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s candidate for the vice presidency, wants to at least, have a split of Facebook examined:
Facebook has grown massively and has preferred that growth to the interests of its consumers. It’s essentially a utility that hasn’t been regulated.
Democrat David Cicilline also reaffirmed Harris’ line at a hearing of the GAFA chiefs in the US House of Representatives:
Our founders did not bow to the king, nor should we bow to the emperors of the online economy. Some should be smashed, others need proper regulation. That must have an end.
The top spokesman for breaking up the tech companies, however, comes from the Republicans – and is Donald Trump:
If Congress doesn’t make big tech fair, which it should have done years ago, I’ll do it myself. In Washington, EVERYTHING has been TALKED for years and there are NO ACTIONS. The people in our country are fed up with it!
Conclusion: Political discontent is growing. The day of a decision is approaching. The story of democracy on the Internet is not yet told to the end.
Translated and Adapted for an International Audience from Gabor Steingart.