Read to the end

A Facebook outage that left billions of people without access to the social network, Instagram or WhatsApp shows that large tech firms should be broken up, the EU’s competition commissioner has said.

Margrethe Vestager said the incident yesterday highlighted the risks created when individual firms hold such dominant positions.

“We need alternatives and choices in the tech market, and must not rely on a few big players, whoever they are,” the Danish EU commissioner wrote on Twitter.

Of course, foreigners don’t get irony, do they?

17 thoughts on “Read to the end”

  1. Loss of access to social media should be regarded as a gift

    Anyway I’m with the conspiracists that say Zuck was busy destroying evidence

  2. Farcebook is a private company. If the the Danish EU commissioner doesn’t like it he is free to create his own Facebook. Same applies to Twatter and Instacrap.

    The problem of “Network Effects” especially in social networks will become apparent a relatively short while between spunking a couple of hundred million up the wall and bankruptcy.

    It doesn’t even matter if the originator of the software / hardware is one of the big-tech megalopolists (as Google demonstrated with the failure of Google+), still, I’m sure that wouldn’t worry someone as prestigious as whoever the EU’s Danish competition commissioner is. Such a political pygmy that I have neither name nor face in recollection.

  3. jgh

    I disagree.

    The EU is, however, obsessively obsessed with seeking to destroy or punish successful American companies.

  4. Ltw,
    There’s no network effect between the three brands Facebook / Instagram / WhatsApp, all owned by Facebook.

  5. Sure, but people go to Farcebook because their friends are on Farcebook. Their friends weren’t on Google+ which was why nobody went their and it was essentially still born because all of the Google nudge to use it was a waste of time, effort and money because a social network has to have some sort of pre-existing user base to begin with to allow those network effects to work.

    Same with WhatsApp, albeit a bit different with Instagram and Twitter. Not sure that ownership has much to do with it other than removing barriers to sharing and data integration, but the Farcebook collective collaborates to enhance the viral effects of their own networks and limit or actively undermine those owned by others (Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon primarily)

  6. must not rely on a few big players
    So we must devolve EU landowner subsidies to more players. Ditto cohesion funding.
    Perhaps let 27 different countries work out their own way of doing these things, or even not doing them at all and spending the money elsewhere.

  7. . . . other than removing barriers to sharing and data integration . . .

    Any WhatsApp and Instagram users who still thought their platforms had some independence from the Zuckerborg should now be absolutely clear after this common outage.

  8. John Galt,

    “Sure, but people go to Farcebook because their friends are on Farcebook. Their friends weren’t on Google+ which was why nobody went their and it was essentially still born because all of the Google nudge to use it was a waste of time, effort and money because a social network has to have some sort of pre-existing user base to begin with to allow those network effects to work.”

    Facebook has weak network effects because you can be on multiple networks. You can remain using Facebook as you gradually shift to other networks. It’s not like the strong network effects of being in a football league.

    If people wanted to run a Mastodon distributed social network servers, they would be by now. The technology exists and they’d have gradually shifted. Why aren’t they? Because Facebook does the job. Is it perfect? No. But if you want to send cat photos to your friends, it does the job. Most of the people who hate Facebook are the MSM, because Facebook has eaten a lot of their lunch.

  9. Any WhatsApp and Instagram users who still thought their platforms had some independence from the Zuckerborg should now be absolutely clear after this common outage.

    Ah, but they’re “Chinese Walls” dontchaknow? 🙂

    Anyone who looks at Zuckerborg and DOESN’T see a fraud / shyster / bullshit artist needs their eyes tested. He’ll keep spinning the plates at Farcebook / WhatsApp / Instagram until it collapses or he’s brought down for his wholesale violations of users privacy. The only question is whether it will be by the EU or the Congress critters.

    For the time being he can keep the buggers off with lobbyists and lawyers, but at some point the momentum of user growth is going to reverse and then it just becomes a matter of time until the money runs out (both user generated / advertising income AND capital value). I presume that Zuckerborg has an escape plan that involves a bit more than hiding out in his later day Xanadu in Hawaii.

    Same applies to that twit from Twatter, but for different reasons (creating a divisive and poisonous polity rather than privacy violations)

  10. Because Facebook does the job. Is it perfect? No. But if you want to send cat photos to your friends, it does the job. Most of the people who hate Facebook are the MSM, because Facebook has eaten a lot of their lunch.

    Sure, for all its scalability and integration, the technology that Facebook has built is essentially only of use to Facebook. As for their haters, I agree that it is exactly as you say it is. Facebook takes an overwhelming slice of the advertising pie that used to be shared among players like the New York Times and so on. They’ve had to try and survive on their capital and the meagre incomes that newspapers can scratch in the online world, even with paywalls, exclusive content and such.

    Still, they’re hatred of Facebook is a bit self-serving. They had years to get ahead in the digital domain and they did little more than treat their websites as digital editions of their newspaper content. If they’d been smarter in the beginning then they could have profited from the content wars rather than being victims of it.

    Given the inherent bias of both Facebook and their enemies I have no sympathy. I hope they all lose their shirts.

  11. The users of facebook, Instagram, etc are not the customers. They are the product. The customers are the people who pay Facbook money for services based on the data from the users.

    This is really what this is all about – distribution of profits.

  12. This is really what this is all about – distribution of profits.

    I suspect that much of Facebook’s political problems in both Congress and the EU is that their distribution of profits via Danegeld to the political and bureaucratic elite simply haven’t gone far enough. I suspect the problem (as observed by Abe Lincoln) is “Too many pigs for the teats”.

  13. Mostly what John Galt says..

    But I think the biggest problem shown by this outage is the fact that FB is not just a social network where people post cat memes and conspiracy theories.
    The real problem is in the integration of Facebook sign-in ( same for Google btw..) in many, many apps and utilities. For way too many people FB/Google acts as a de-facto password manager/sign-in tool, especially, judging from the screaming, in SE Asia.

    This is…an unhealthy situation.. to say the least.
    Not sure if anything can be done about it other than (slowly) teaching people to use a proper PW manager and stuff, given that underneath the polite polish the internet is the old Wild West, but I’m but an egg.

  14. I like the Babylon Bee’s headline: “Ransomware hackers threaten to turn Facebook back on if they’re not paid”.

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