Former UK Secretary of State for Business calls for break-up of Google, Facebook and Amazon

Vince Cable compares Google, Amazon and Facebook to the oil monopolies of more than a century ago. Just as Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil) had to divest itself of subsidiaries at the beginning of the 20th century, he believes Facebook should divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for EU operation, creating two new social media networks.

In my view the question runs deeper than just concentration of power, however. The issues of privacy, systemic surveillance, and micro-targeting of toxic propaganda are driven by a business model underpinned by advertising. It is the permitted existence of that commercial model that growing numbers of observers think should be under discussion now, given the torrent of increasingly unpalatable discoveries that have emerged over the last year.


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