Techdirt Podcast Episode 190: Should We Break Up Big Tech?

from the pro-tech-anti-trust dept

A few weeks ago, we featured a panel discussion with Mike and others at the Lincoln Network’s Reboot conference on the podcast. This week we’re doing something a little different and featuring another panel discussion from that conference, but one in which Mike wasn’t involved. Instead, it’s an interesting — and at times contentious — debate about one big question: do the big tech firms need to be broken up?

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 190: Should We Break Up Big Tech?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Adam says:


Big is intrinsically bad. Can’t be reformed, particularly in modern era where excess is the norm. Their only goal after success is total domination, just like all others who gain power. It’s ridiculous that so much power without any real limits, is allowed in the hands of arrogant 30-year olds.

Technology without morality is masnickism.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

My take:

Matt is clearly someone who has done a lot of study and nuanced thinking on the subject. He’s got a good understanding of the issues involved. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, but he’s on the right track most of the time.

Jeff felt more like a caricature than a real person, a living, breathing example of Poe’s Law. Seriously, if I wanted to write a strawman debate character of a Libertarian troll arguing in bad faith, I would have him do exactly what Jeff did:

  • try to reframe everything in terms of economics, reframe the economics in terms of the greatest benefit to the most wealthy and powerful, and assert with no evidence that this state of affairs benefits everyone else
  • asserting that there is actually no evidence of the well-understood harm being discussed, then, when called on it, present a standard of evidence that is literally impossible to meet (as one of the other panelists pointed out, thankfully)
  • gaslight opponents by asserting, after they tear your shoddy assertions apart, that they have proven your point for you
  • interrupt and talk over the top of opponents who are making valid points

For that last one especially, he should have been unceremoniously tossed out by the moderator about 75% of the way through. But his entire shtick from beginning to end was straight out of the bog-standard Libertarian troll playbook; I could predict the majority of what he said because I’ve seen it so many times. And it’s really getting old.

And Hal… was there too. And he said some things.

My take on this: I was happy to hear someone mention the "too big to fail" problem, because it ties into something that’s been running around in my mind for a while now. We’ve seen several Techdirt articles (and podcasts) talking about moderation at scale, and how it’s literally impossible for platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to successfully moderate their content.

Every time, I’m reminded of Bernie Sanders’ famous statement that "too big to fail is too big to exist." Might I suggest, in this context, the slightly less controversial proposition that too big to succeed is too big to exist?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...