Headline October 17, 2019/ '' 'STUDENTS BIG-TECH STAMMERS' ''



COMPANIES LIKE : FACEBOOK - GOOGLE - AMAZON - APPLE are just too powerful? Big Tech is now a big punching bag for politicians.

REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS don't agree on health care, immigration or taxing the rich. But one subject draws critics from both parties : Big Tech.

The list of grievances is long and growing by the week. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are too big and powerful. They're bad for privacy, public discourse, democracy and small business.

They're spying on us, contributing to economic inequality and hooking us and our children on addictive, useless services.

The companies themselves object to these characteristics, though how loudly they object varies.

Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, urged Twitter to suspend President Donald Trump's account for violating the service's rules, while republican Senator Josh Hawley of Miissouri is battling what he considered tech companies bias against conservatives.

Hawley has also told Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg that he should sell off WhatsApp and  Instagram.

The companies are trying to maintain a neutral stance, even if that draws the ire of politicians as divergent as the president and those trying to impeach him. Behind the scenes, though, they are spending millions on lobbying in hopes of warding off breakups or intrusive regulation.

Not that there is any danger of wither happening any time soon, especially with an ongoing impeachment probe. Still, taking up Big Tech's problems has proven to be popular political rhetoric.

When it comes to policing content, social media services are ''caught between a rock and a hard place.'' said Andrew Guess, a Princeton University political scientist who studies social media and its effects on political opinion.

Blocking or suspending accounts for hate speech can prompt complaints of political bias or censorship, but a hands-off approach may be viewed as a free pass to politicians like Trump.

''Anything they do is going to attract criticism,'' Guess said. ''That of course makes them a target.'' Beyond discourse and privacy, antitrust concerns have emerged as a major concern for law makers and candidates.

This wasn't the case in 2016, when grumbling about the outsized power of tech was largely confined to activists and those on the most liberal end of the spectrum.

Leading the pack has been Senator Elizabeth Warren, a democratic presidential candidate who in March proposed breaking up big tech companies.

She garnered immediate support, even from rivals such as Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who retweeted Warren for what he said was the first time.

Cruz said ''she's right Big Tech has way too much power to silence free speech.''

Since then, calling out the tech behemoths and other big corporations has been a pillar of Warren's  presidential campaign. Senator Bernie Sanders, another leading Democratic candidate, has also said breaking up Amazon, Google and Apple is ''something we should definitely take a look at.''

Still, while there have been congressional hearings, investigations and fines, including a record $5 billion against Facebook, little has changed for Big Tech.

A Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass legislation that seems too anti-business. That includes breaking up tech companies seen as too monopolistic.

The same likely goes for any privacy law that restricts companies' target ads to their liking.

While the two parties agree that Big Tech has problems, they often differ on what those problems are and how to fix them. You won't find many Democrats complaining about Tech's perceived  conservative bias, for instance.

Nor will you find many conservatives complaining of algorithmic bias against people of colour.

Trump has been uneven in his criticisms. Amazon has been a frequent target, though that is due in part to CEO Jeff Bezos's ownership of The Washington Post.

He's met with Zuckerberg privately, but he's also tweeted that ''Facebook was always anti-Trump''  and accused it of  colluding with the news media against him. 

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Big Tech continues. The World Students Society thanks authors AP.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all on Facebook,  prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

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