Posted On: Monday - September 24th 2018 8:12PM MST
In Topics:   Websites  Media Stupidity  Orwellian Stupidity  Big-Biz Stupidity
... along with Apple, Google, and Spotify*
This is somewhat of a continuation of the topic of the Orwellian control of ideas via the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse, more widely known as the 4 F.A.G.S. of the Social Media. Peak Stupidity previously discussed the topic in relation to the un-personing of Alex Jones (more here) by these companies with monopolies on their "spaces"** in the internet social media realm.
These companies have been in the news of late due to leakage of news of their use of their massive media power (due to wide usage) to slant search results and other internet page-views by naive users who think they are completely impartial due to "it's a computer, man." VDare has a post by Mrs. Brenda Walker on the great amazingly-still-on-the-air Tucker Carlson regarding emails out of Google that reveal their devious deeds. One realizes how Orwellian this stuff is only after imagining the types of things that can be programmed to happen with an understanding of how almost all users expect fairness in search results.
The talk by the President about controlling these organizations has brought to the forefront of public consciousness questions of the 1st Amendment being not applicable to private business, the breaking up of monopolies, etc. However, it's not the goal of this post to discuss that stuff.
In this post, I simply want to point out a major reason that these companies can monopolize their respective spaces. I had talked about this to a friend and decided maybe this wasn't obvious to everyone. Let me first bring up Amazon.com though, which is not the "A" in F.A.G.S., BTW, and not part of the un-personing of conservatives/patriot yet. That's not to say it couldn't very easily be part of these nefarious efforts with regard to it's book sales and anything else political, if it wanted. This leads toward my point, and Amazon is perhaps the best, first example. I'd heard of the company in 1997, when they sold nothing but books. It was a few years later, though, when someone explained to me the perhaps not-intentionally genius idea of having the users make most of the website content. That's what the reviews are - user-generated content. Amazon made the excellent "platform" (another buzzword, but a decent one), but the site-viewers were, and are, glad to add reviews of (now) any product, basically to help their fellow consumers. (That is, unless they are ringers, and I do see quite a bit of that.) Put the ability to communicate and be seen out there, and the users will fill the site with useful information. It's genius (not in the invention of the transistor sort of way, but for these guys, yeah, it's genius).
The Internet Movie DataBase, one of my favorites for many years, is a great example of a user-generated content site, though it is a site that I think was made purely for the love of the data (movies and everything about movies). That was more the way of the web back in the 1990's. Peak Stupidity makes a habit of linking to IMDB for all references to movies, over Amazon.com, and in fact, Amazon bought the IMDB back when they started selling movies (on VHS tapes!). (I'm not sure whether Amazon still owns IMDB.)
Let me now turn to Facebook. It's the same there. All the billions of valuation of that company represent the usefulness of the site to 100's of millions (or billions?) of people, that somehow will make lots of money for the company. Yes, that last part is very questionable, but not the apparent usefulness of the site to many. It's the users that generate almost all of the site content, as Facebook just provided the platform. In the case of the dominant search engine Google, it's the billions of searches done by the users that THEMSELVES help make the subsequent searches more powerful and accurate (if they're not made deliberately biased, that is).
Google's youtube, BTW, is another example, better than Google-search itself, of a site for which the content is generated by the users, per the Amazon model. Once the platform was made, and they were the 1st for all knowledge of this blogger, it was all about letting the users fill it up. Do you remember when videos were limited to 10 min. length? It wasn't that long ago, what 5 years, maybe? Man, you couldn't even listen to the full Steve Miller Book of Dreams for free back then. I mean, WTF, man?!
Now, I'd like to dicuss why it's very difficult to break these Big-Net monopolies, but this has been shifted into a subsequent post - see two posts later.
* Full disclosure: Peak Stupidity has no earthly idea what Spotify does, nor does Peak Stupidity give a rat's ass if we never ever know.
** "Space" has been a big, big, corporate-buzzword for many years in the "TECH!" (another buzzword) world. Facebook works in the networking "space", while Google works in the search "space", etc. I'd like to be in space myself that has none of these people, and that'd probably have to take me into outer space.
[Updated 9/25, morning: ] Added more about user-generated content with examples of IMDB and youtube. This made this post too long. I've cut off the 2nd part and put it in the post 2 subsequent to this one and changed the title.