Is Google too big? Yes. The company controls 9 out of 10 searches. It receives over a third of every digital advertising dollar spent in the world. It’s on the verge of being worth a trillion dollars. And it does all of this with a progressive mindset that harms conservatives and Christians.
Based on this information, one might assume I’m all in favor of breaking them up, as 50 Attorneys General from 48 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico are now investigating this possibility.
Today on the steps of the US Supreme Court I joined a bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General announcing a multi-state investigation aimed at getting to the truth and determining if #Google’s business practices are anti-competitive and illegal. https://t.co/OJ5yOASF87 pic.twitter.com/d8qeAWqs1g
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) September 9, 2019
But before we jump in with our pitchforks, conservatives need to remember what President Reagan used as his guideline for determining whether or not a company should be broken up. His and Robert Bork’s “consumer welfare” rule basically forced regulators to stop asking if a company was too big and start asking if breaking up that company would be beneficial to the consumers. It’s a very different way of looking at things; if we were to look at antitrust laws the old way, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and many of their subsidiaries like Instagram and YouTube would almost certainly qualify as too big.
The question must always be focused on the results of a breakup, not the size of the companies being considered for antitrust actions. Google is clearly dominant. Beyond search and digital advertising, they operate the lion’s share of smartphones around the globe. They own the video market with Facebook at a distant second and no standalone video sites even coming close to either. They’re sticking their fingers into everything from artificial intelligence to internet service providers, from healthcare to automotive.
Will breaking them up help consumers? That’s a tough question to answer, but it’s the question these Attorneys General need to address much more than whether or not Google is too big. They’re definitely too big. They stifle competition without trying simply because people are so accustomed to using them for so many day-to-day activities that we aren’t interested in looking for alternatives. I love DuckDuckGo as a search engine, but I’m often forced to use Google to find more in-depth sources to my queries. That’s he nature of the beast. Google gets search much better than any of the competitors. They always have.
What about advertising? If Google’s stranglehold on digital advertising was relieved, would consumers pay less? This argument is easier to make if it can be determined Google’s dominance drives market prices higher for advertisers and/or keeps profits lower for sites dependent on advertising. If that’s the case, an argument can be made that consumer welfare would be advanced by breaking them up.
But I doubt they’ll find this. In fact, I’ve done some experiments myself by using many alternative advertising platforms to generate revenue on the site. As much as I detest Google’s Adsense and the minimal controls they allow me to determine what gets advertised on this site, I have been forced to come back to them twice now after all alternatives failed miserably in comparison. As for advertisers themselves, my history in Google’s Adwords shows it is one of the most cost-effective ways for businesses to reach consumers.
In other words, even on the advertising front it seems anecdotally that Google is superior in the way it delivers advertisers to consumers. This is one area the Attorney’s General need to explore closely. I hope I’m wrong but what I’ve seen tells me I’m probably correct that breaking up Google will not benefit consumers or businesses.
So what can be done? Is there a way these Attorneys General or someone else in government can hit Google in a way that makes things better for consumers in general? Yes. The real problem with Google isn’t their tremendous reach. It’s in their bias. Whether it’s YouTube hiding videos for spreading a conservative message or search results favoring left-leaning sources over conservative ones, the bias inherent in algorithms created and maintained by opinionated men and women must be monitored to make sure Google falls in line with Section 230. This will go a long way to solving the problems Google creates. Will it make them smaller or break them up? No. But if they can be compelled to use an even hand when dealing with opinions, which most of their products do, then there would be less of a need to try to take down their company from DC.
It wouldn’t appease the left who is adamant about breaking them up for reasons that are not driven by consumer welfare or freedom of thought. They want to break up big tech so they can exert more control over them. Patriots should not want DC to have more control over anything, even big tech.
Especially big tech.
It’s up to consumers to send the real message to Google by using alternatives. We must support alternative search engines by using them instead of Google. This more than anything else will drive them to lower advertising costs to the benefit of businesses and consumers alike. We’ve given them the power they now wield. It’s time to show them we can take that power away.
Big tech breakups are very popular among the people right now. But it’s up to the people, not the government, to spend our dollars in ways that match us ideologically. We can hit big tech in ways that are not detrimental to our freedoms. DC cannot.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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