Do we Need to Regulate Google and Facebook

This could be taken another way to be saying “if you don’t want to be part of or participate in life, don’t use it. You can’t expect to be accepted or have access to what the world has to offer if you refuse to use social media.” The tribe has spoken is an oft used reflection on how it turns out.

I’m not one for FB or mortgaging my future to Google. It seems though that by not doing so one is cutting off many opportunities. I’ll add LinkedIn to that having twice more than a decade past been asked to provide job applications through a portal connecting with my profile. Incidentally something I did not have at that time, but without which the online form would not complete.

We may be asking for a right to privacy for our data to be protected and not tracked. The evidence is that the current legislated controls are a long way behind what the vast majority have come to know and accept.

Opting out is really opting all out, IMHO. It’s not a realistic option except for a select few. As Imperfect as further regulation may be, if it causes a reset to how things were 20 years prior and destroys some of the supposed benefits, will we be that poorer for having done so? I think not.

never leave out FATCA! It does not even require an app or middle man, just a banking system and compliant foreign government. There are a few, mostly not ‘top 10’ who have refrained to date although banks that do not comply are not allowed to operate in the USA.

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Or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or whenever the US imposes sanctions on a country, any other country doing business in the US has to comply with.

World bullies.

I think Meta has just wilfully ignored the 2020 EU Court of Justice ruling on EU user data storage outside of the EU (which in the EU benefits from their GDPR). Three years on Meta continued to transfer data from their EU base in Ireland without the protections they should have afforded that data. Meta still have time to correct the situation, but the fine remains unless the Meta appeal is successful. Further down in the article it notes that Washington and Brussels have created an agreement that will offer the EU data the protection required though not yet implemented:

“A spokesperson for the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – said it hoped a new framework for transatlantic data transfers would be “fully functional by the summer” which would provide the “stability and legal certainty” sought by US tech companies. Facebook would be able to resume data transfers under the new data regime, which has been agreed between Washington and Brussels at a political level but still requires agreement on implementation.

The spokesperson said it was “very clear” that the EU had worked with the US on putting “safeguards” protecting consumer data in place and it hoped to restore legal certainty.”

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That is against the fundamental business model of social media. If “further regulation” ever achieves a lack of tracking and significant privacy in social media then the business model will collapse and, like mainstream media, social media will start to wither and die.

That depends on whether alternatives become available, alternatives that don’t rely on surveillance capitalism.

That may well be so - I am not at all familiar with the relevant regulations etc.

I have moved beyond that to look at the underlying problems and solutions (as Australia, for example, doesn’t really have skin in the game either way, not in the EU and not in any large social media companies, so whoever wins EU GDPR v. Big Social Media doesn’t really matter to us 1).

I have my doubts that Big Social Media will ever fit properly in a regime that puts some kind of priority on privacy. They can make the right noises and both sides can pretend that things are good but I remain sceptical.

1 Well unless the “truce” involves yet more stupid EU popups on every web site …

GDPR does affect Australians, an Australian company or people who deal with EU citizens or businesses and if that data is stored in AU servers then that data is protected by GDPR and some businesses here now acknowledge that requirement. This would result in an effect if the Australian company was a Facebook presence or a Google storefront. The EU person are dealing with an Australian and perhaps would expect GDPR protections would apply.

The OAIC has an opinion that reflects this regardless of how an Australian entity might carry out their activity with EU residents (this could include Facebook Marketplace for example).

For a semi legal read on it


True, but that isn’t what I said. Just: whoever wins EU GDPR v. Big Social Media doesn’t really matter to us.

Well, OK, if Big Social Media wins and GDPR is actually wound back for all companies then there could be a small benefit for Australian companies. But Big Social Media could win and yet GDPR stays as it is. Or Big Social Media could win and GDPR accommodates Big Social Media but no-one else. And more likely Big Social Media loses anyway.

Doesn’t it also depend on users wanting to use the alternatives in greater numbers than the existing options?

IE If the majority still go to FB Market Place to purchase there is little value of using a competitor to sell the same type of goods, home surplus etc if there are few going to the site.

I’m of course reflecting the power FB and Google hold for as long as they can retain control - of their user base and regulation. Musk-esque events excepted. :wink::joy:


If there are alternatives that don’t exhibit “undesirable property X” and the existing option does exhibit it and people complain about X then, no. People should either vote with their feet or not complain.

But, sure, there is the “network effect” i.e. critical mass - and that can be a problem in dislodging undesirable incumbents.

The problem with your point is that effectively no one moves, waiting for everyone else to move. Someone just has to start the stampede for the exits, be the first mover and accept the potential temporary negatives.

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