My 20 cents.

Author:Serafini, Dom
 
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The FANGs--or better yet, the FAYCs--are wreaking havoc in the social, political, and business worlds, but there aren't yet any known legal bases that will allow us to regulate them or split them apart.

The FANGs are under siege by the U.S. government, private agencies, and social groups that are dead set on weakening them.

"FANG" (or "FAANG") is the acronym used to denote the largest digital and social media companies. They include Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

Personally, I'm not sure if regulating and/or cutting the FANGs down to size is something that can actually be accomplished. I think it's a good thing on moral, political, and social levels, but I have my doubts on legal and business levels. Plus, I'd replace Netflix with Yahoo! and call them "FAYGs," since Netflix is not in the user-generated content business.

U.S. government agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), want to break up each individual FAYG company because they are harming competition. The Department of Justice is looking at antitrust charges against big tech. Private organizations such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) want the FAYGs to be regulated--just as broadcasting is. And social groups, such as The Center for Humane Technology, as well as Common Sense Media, want to limit the use of tech and social media, especially by children.

On a political level, far-right politicians like the idea of being able to spread their ideologies any way they can. Meanwhile, far left politicians decry the fact that fake news, foreign interferences, and fabrications are disseminated online without any control.

All of them, however, have thus far failed in presenting a valid, ironclad argument that would allow the U.S. government to regulate and/or split up the FAYGs. And Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (which shields websites from liability for content created by their users) gives FAYGs further protection.

I have been following NAB president Gordon Smith's campaign to get the FAYGs covered under the same rules that regulate radio and TV stations. Smith contends that: "We are up against unregulated behemoth companies. Facebook [is] even talking about coming out with their own currencies. While broadcasters are kept small by regulators, [they] are competing with what are developing as corporate nation-states.

"There comes a point when a private interest gets so large that it has a...

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