Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

Luigi offers Zingales A window on news illiteracy, or at least a penchant for social media for provoking arguments.

Zingales is an economist at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, whose main floor walls are lined with Murderer Rowe, a photo of the Nobel Prize winner in economics (nine, actually). You sometimes find a real, living Nobelist in a salad bar in a windy cafeteria away from an airy lobby atrium, where elite students from all over the world (our future tech swamp, Fortune 500 chief and perhaps well-meaning dictator) One can find chatting with the unmistakable aura of privilege and intellectual superiority.

The native of Padua, Italy, has prompted a nasty kerfuffle by inviting Trump’s former entry adviser Steve Bannon to the campus (to set a date), bolstering both allegations of promoting a “Nazi”. A sit by protesters During one of his classes. The university, where (some joke) jokes to die, has long been the most venerable bastion of free speech and will not be a goat, as President Robert Zimmer reiterated. During a conversation With The Wall Street Journal.

But if civilians are ideologically less guilty, it could bring attention to the actual work of Zingells, including questions about more troubled forces than a former Donald Trump Svengali.

In short, are Facebook and Google monopolies?

Jhingale ignited the first case In a podcast He co-hosts with Kate Waldock of Georgetown University and is now known to both go into more detail in a conversation with Tyler Cowen of George Mason University Found in Booth magazine And in a phone chat.

Zingales is troubled by his power, but Cowen isn’t really so because he mentions some obvious realities: most people love them and the price is right. Those companies have climbed because they are doing a better job than media competitors. Their growing market share is a function of being very good, especially during the advertising dollar period, where our choice in the media has never been higher.

Cartoon on President Donald Trump

Zingales started, paying higher prices than we imagined, most importantly in personal data, which we pick up. Weirdly, we cannot place as much value on that data as we can and are less and less concerned about privacy. When we post on Google and on Facebook, we don’t really appreciate all the information we regularly spread.

So, to that extent, data is the new oil and Facebook is our new Rockefeller, troubled in the days of standard oil monopolies. Cowen disagrees, noting that in his mind, Facebook’s product is free and he does not have a monopoly on attention, as Rockefeller did on our gasoline.

Zingells countered that the control of data is poor and gives large platforms a growing hold in other areas, especially in the form of artificial intelligence. This is not quite a traditional monopoly, but a dangerously constant leverage of influence.

In his very civil debate with Cowen, he said, “I am not advocating regulation; I am advocating re-allocation of data ownership. I don’t want to tax them; I want more competition. You Want, as you said. A boundary wall. In a boundary wall, there are two factors at play. One benefits the consumer. The other creates a moat to prevent competitors from coming and building bigger and bigger monopolies. “

He said, “These companies discriminate on a commercial basis. If you’re a competitor, you’re at the bottom of the list.” “If I own the railway, I can charge you double the price for it because you are my competitor, while my friends give it for free. It is the law of the land in America: if you have a public utility with certain characteristics , You should provide service for everyone on equal terms. “

And, while he pointed to the effectiveness of European media and data regulation (and argued that prices had fallen and increased competition for products such as phones), he does not call for immediate regulation, but at least Less, a more clear understanding of the power of giants.

“It’s not a straightforward thing,” he says in a phone chat. “The solution is not saying there is no problem or jumping the gun. In the first line of my attack, it is saying that I want to make the market more competitive by introducing rules to make it more competitive . “

A look at the growing Facebook-Google Struggle on digital advertising. Yes, access to information is high these days (which he includes, wasting time on the blogs of academics), but one actually has to pay for good information. The decline in that lifetime of democracy is vivid, especially on local media markets.

“I am not trying to go back to the good old days. They were not so good and they are not coming back. But to say that is not a problem would be excessive. Facebook and Google are very good at transmitting information , But not in creating information., “He says.

Good information is publicly good, he said, “The Post,” he was reminded of when watching Pentagon Papers ‘coverage on Steven Spielberg-Meryl Streep-Tom Hanks’ film The Washington Post.

He recalls that when The Post was concerned about the New York Times blockbuster’s initial coverage, “They go out and buy The Times’ ten. We’re not using it anymore. Modern technology made reproduction easier Is, ”and interrupted. business models. These days, simply get a free digital version of the story.

If the retaliatory Department of Justice demands its counsel, it will try to figure out ways to increase competition, in search of assurances the search brings fair results from Google strictly from both a commercial and political standpoint and somehow Tries to limit the size of digital. Advertising Markets and Facebook Control.

“There’s probably a strict limit that they can’t control more than X-percent in that market,” he says. Some of the very media concentration limits dug by Trump’s Federal Communications Commission should probably be revived for the Internet age, he suspects, as last week’s Robert Müller underscores the Russian troll’s mere Facebook influence, especially (growing incompetence Not to mention) to separate Americans from the real).

“I’m not against [Facebook and Google], “Says Zingales.” I only worry about their power. “

And then, of course, there is the man, Bannon, and a very harsh public debate involving a hopelessly liberal use of the word “Nazi”. This is probably more related to the role of Facebook and Google.

He said, “We don’t have a date yet. But the thing that surprises me is that I am actually more concerned about the future of the nation because of the extremism of some positions.”

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