Matt Stoller Profile picture
Mar 23, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. #DeleteFacebook is well-meaning, and it is good to start with boycotts. But saying 'glad I never used Facebook' or 'I don't use Facebook' is missing the point. This is not a scandal of privacy. It is not a consumer rights issue, aka Facebook users having their data misused.
2. The Facebook scandal is an issue of *market power* overwhelming producers, NOT consumers. It is Facebook's use of data to dominate publishers, artists and ad buyers that is the key problem. All tech companies do not do this. Only Facebook and Google are this dominant.
3. The amount of data that many companies and entities know about you is significant. That is not the issue with regards to Facebook. Zuckerberg isn't interested in knowing whether you're cheating on your spouse. He is interested in dominating the New York Times with your data.
4. This here is the threat to democracy. Not privacy, not Facebook failing to protect consumer data. It is Facebook's ability to mediate what you see and what political and commercial speech is financed and allowed to circulate. The data is a competitive weapon here.
5. This is why Zuckerberg and Sandberg are emphasizing how Facebook is now going to aggressively protect user data. They want to turn this into a *privacy* scandal when it is actually a problem of market power and democracy. They are going try and use it to reinforce their power.
6. For example, the point of inter-operability is regulate competition so the information we produce and exchange is not manipulated by Facebook. Some technologists are going to talk about how this could threaten privacy. They are missing the problem here.
7. Boycotts are good because they lead to politics, aka collective action essential to self-government. We have to think not as consumers or users, but as *producers* and *citizens*. The problem is FB/Google's control of the financing of news, art, entertainment, culture, etc.
8. This is ultimately not a scandal of privacy or technology *at all*. This is entirely a political problem, whereby Facebook uses your data as a means of extracting money from ad buyers for the value created by citizen producers.
9. @SenJohnKennedy is the most coherent politician on the political economy problem of Facebook.
10. I am very interested to see how Zuckerberg's testimony will go. John Kennedy used Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch like a chew toy when Stretch testified.

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More from @matthewstoller

Oct 6, 2018
1. A lot of people wonder why I'm constantly harping on the Democrats when Trump is in the White House. One of the reasons is the old Democratic establishment protected Susan Collins.
2. Susan Collins has always portrayed herself as a moderate. And she is soft-spoken and nice, which is appealing to voters. She speaks openly about being pro-choice, and talked up working with Senators like Ted Kennedy.
3. There are some useful things Collins has done. For example, in 2010, she put in a requirement that larger banks have higher capital requirements.…
Read 21 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
I wasn't disappointed in Obama, I was disappointed in the tens of millions of Democrats who decided that he was the greatest thing ever even as he presided over the destruction of the middle class.
Obama lied about really important things, like foreclosures and health costs. This notion that he was decent man dealing w/an impossible situation is as silly as the idea that Trump is a self-made billionaire. Obama shaped policy around aristocratic goals.
Grievance politics works on everyone. My own cohort is upper class white liberals, and upper class white liberals went nuts for Obama in a weird irrational manner. The rage from liberals who pointed out he lied about, say, retroactive immunity for telecoms in 2008, was high.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
This isn't hard to explain. Progressives don't have a way to talk about what it means to be a working class white man in America right now, but there are real awful things happening to this cohort.
First of all, working class white men are dying younger, largely killing themselves.
White middle age men have the highest suicide rate.…
Read 13 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
1. Ok, I see I'm going to have to explain the Amazon minimum wage hike. There are two ways of protecting our liberties as individuals. First are rules to protect producers: patent, copyright, union, farm supports, etc. Second are rules to restrain capital: antitrust, finreg, etc.
2. The key is to block the ability of the financier to use the corporation and bank to control us. That means cutting off the ability to pour free capital from Wall Street into a segment to monopolize. That's why we had rules against predatory pricing.
3. It's why we used to force large companies - like railroads, airlines, AT&T, etc - to remain in a single business segment. This goes back to the 19th century. Jefferson saw it, the "aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government."
Read 17 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
1. Kavanaugh's clearly on display anger and pain was quite confusing to millions of Americans. Many saw authenticity in his voice and thus in some way believed he is telling the truth. It is time for us to wake up to what aristocracy is. Aristocracy is a moral system.
2. Most Westerners have a hard time imagining aristocracy. The enlightenment kind of pushed the end of feudalism as a moral frame. The idea of divinely ordained social hierarchies doesn't make any sense to us.
3. We think of aristocracy as a bunch of men in whigs and women in petticoats and corsets, a sort of black and white before color TV world. That is not what aristocracy is. Aristocracy is a belief in the moral right of elites to rule and abuse everyone else *for their own good.*
Read 20 tweets
Sep 16, 2018
Agree with the sentiment here, but privilege is the wrong frame. Growing up affluent means growing up with the ability to be free. That's not privilege. It's what *everyone* should have. It's not unfair that some have it, it's unfair that some don't.
Being able to go to college without debt, being able to raise kids and see a doctor, not having to worry about food, shelter, being able to have leisure and make non-coerced political and social choices... That's not privilege. That is what every person in America should have.
You also don't need to grow up poor to notice homeless people on the street and think 'hey that's bad they should have homes.' You just need to not be a sociopath. There but for the grace of God and all that. I mean we have many religious traditions making this point.
Read 8 tweets

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