Perhaps The Dumbest Idea We've Heard Yet: Nationalize Facebook

from the say-what-now? dept

I honestly had to read this article by Philip Howard at Slate three times to convince myself that it wasn't just a Swiftian Modest Proposal. But Howard's discussion of why it might make sense to "Nationalize Facebook" really does appear to be an honest thought experiment, even if he admits it's unlikely (he's wrong, it's not just unlikely, it's not even a remote possibility).
By “nationalizing Facebook,” I mean public ownership and at least a majority share at first. When nationalizing the company restores the public trust, that controlling interest could be reduced. There are three very good reasons for this drastic step: It could fix the company’s woeful privacy practices, allow the social network to fulfill its true potential for providing social good, and force it to put its valuable data to work on significant social problems.
None of that makes any sense. Think of companies that tend to be government run or owned. How many of them have "public trust"? Right. Second, while many people are uncomfortable with Facebook's view on privacy, it seems like a stretch to call the practices "woeful." The real complaint Howard seems to have here is with privacy laws -- and it seems to be based on an ignorance of what kind of mess it would make to start mandating privacy rules of the nature that he seems to think are important. Next, I don't even know what that part about "social good" means, let alone how it makes even a sliver of sense. That same argument could be used to "nationalize" any company. You know, the laundromat on the corner isn't providing enough social good, so we should nationalize it. Finally, nationalizing a company to force it to provide data to solve "social problems" again makes no sense at all. And, um, who determines what the "social good" is here or which social problems to focus on? Howard? The President?

Everything that he discusses is already handled, and handled much better, by keeping Facebook as a private company. If it loses the public trust (which it hasn't), they'll go elsewhere. If it's not giving off enough social good, users will go elsewhere. If that data can really solve significant social problems, there are plenty of incentives to make Facebook release it. None of these arguments make even a sliver of sense, other than that Howard apparently thinks that Facebook should be working on a few of his pet projects. If the post was designed as satire, then I'll grant that it fooled me, but if it is actually serious, it just seems like pure troll bait.


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    Vog (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 9:54am

    The purpose of this article is obvious.

    Philip had "social problems" with the hot new intern and wants Facebook to be put in "public trust" so he can "fulfill ... true potential" for "social good".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Stupid question:

    Assume his points are 100% correct, and that it's possible (both are not, but just for the sake of argument, assume they are.)

    Which nation is going to nationalize it?

    Last time I checked, Facebook had users from all over the globe. Which country gets to "own" Facebook, and thus eliminate the users from all the other countries?

     

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    Eric Goldman (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    I did a similar thought experiment regarding search engines: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/06/a_thought_exper.htm

    The idea that a government-run website would improve a website's privacy and trustworthiness is beyond laughable. It completely ignores the massive abuses of our trust and privacy our government commits every day.

    Eric.

     

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    Vog (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:07am

    In all seriousness, the linked article reads as a giant, whiny contradiction.

    He wants to make less data available to the government, and more data freely available for good causes. I can't discern whether he's advocating less privacy or more privacy, or if he's just complaining that Facebook isn't "doing enough", whatever that means.

    His point about data sharing promoting "social good" is made without nuance, and smacks of the same rhetoric I've heard Democrat-leaning libertarians use when they say "privacy kills".

     

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    Andrew LeCody, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Govt Facebook and Privacy?

    I fail to see how a government run Facebook would be better at protecting a user's privacy. I'm sure that one of the first things the government would setup is an API or some kind of "security access" for law enforcement that gives them full read access to everything.

     

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    Cononymous Award, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Irregarless of whether it is a good idea to nationalize Facebook, the underlying assumption that if it involves the government is it automatically bad is demonstrably false.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Here's an even better idea: Have the government make their own social networking site. See how many people sign up.

    I mean, if they trust the government and governmental involvement will help the public good, and FB is distrusted and evil, then surely everyone will drop FB and go to BigBrotherBook.

     

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    am i a paranoid old coot now?, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:11am

    the NSA is building the worlds largest data center to monitor your data. Microsoft is building a cam network for NYC. Facebook comes out with a facial recognition software that works with the worlds largest self pic inventory in existence. now they want to "Nationalize" Facebook.

    if you were not scared before, you better be pissing your pants now... your rights to privacy are being stolen and they not even trying to hide it.

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re: Stupid question:

    You know...This is the most salient objection of all!

    The other stuff (public trust, public good...)is debatable even if the evidence is weighed heavily against the nationalization idea.

    On the other hand, you've identified a truly insurmountable logistical problem...unless some consortium of countries that can't agree on much get together to govern facebook...yeah...right.

     

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    Shmerl, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    "Fixing" Facebook won't going to work, since Facebook has a fundamental flaw. Instead of being a social network built for helping users in their social interactions, it's a network for making money on those interactions and user profiles. Such kind of flaw can not be fixed with superficial methods. I.e. the network needs to be built from the ground up differently to avoid that pitfall.

    Open and decentralized social networks where users control their data is the proposed way to solve issue. Facebook is nothing like that.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re: Knock 3 times

    Can you give us a few examples of your conjecture?

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Think of companies that tend to be government run or owned. How many of them have "public trust"?


    Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll choose the US Post Office over its private competitors any day, for one very simple reason: When someone ships something to me by USPS, I get it.

    When someone ships something to me by UPS or Fedex, here's what typically happens. (Note: this is *typical*. This is normal. It's not an exception, it's the same crap I have to deal with EVERY BLOODY TIME.)

    - The shipping company only delivers during normal business hours. Now, the problem with that is that all the normal businesses, including the one I work at, keep the same hours, which means I won't be home when they show up. And I live alone, so there's no one there to accept the package.

    - I try to call them and tell them that I won't be there, and they need to tell the driver to leave the package with the apartment manager.

    - I get an hours-long runaround involving multiple calls before I finally get through to someone who has the authority to do something as simple as attach delivery instructions to my package. They tell me that it'll get delivered to the apartment manager.

    - I come home and find the sticker on my door that says they weren't able to deliver it, despite the fact that the apartment manager has been there all day.

    - If I'm lucky, I can call up the shipping company and berate them into having the driver come back around and drop it off after hours. If not, I just have to wait for the next attempt and hope they actually do give it to the apartment manager this time.

    But I have NEVER ONCE had any problems like this with the post office. That's why I insist, whenever possible, on having packages shipped by them instead of the private shipping companies.

     

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    David (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Surest way to reduce traffic

    It will make sure that the folks whose guy is not in power don't use it :)

     

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    Glen, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Here is a question. If (and that is a huge if)anyone was in favor of nationalization, which country would assume Facebook? I'm sure there other countries would freak out if it became property of the United States.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    Well...the post office works better and is a whole lot cheaper (for the customer) than private solutions.

    Public education is much better than private....

    Medicare....as an example of the health insurance industry

    Even the auto industry worked better when the govt had(s) a stake.

    Umm...just about every market works better with oversight than without.

    You see, as much as any particular government might not live up to its obligation of accountability, the private sector doesn't and will never have that obligation...they exist to make money and will do whatever to whomever to remain profitable...even to the point of knowingly murdering people, destroying the environment, bankrupting people, corrupting governments, etc.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    I mean, if they trust the government and governmental involvement will help the public good, and FB is distrusted and evil, then surely everyone will drop FB and go to BigBrotherBook.

    I thought that Facebook was already BigBrotherBook. After all, until recently your employer could fire you based on what they saw on Facebook (they still can, but they can't use it as evidence.) And they keep changing their security posture that requires you to opt-in to locking down your security over opening it up (not sure if they have changed this as a policy yet.) And don't get me started with Apps spying on you.

    The simple fact is...no matter what service you use, someone is going to use it to "spy on you". The only way to fix this is to not use Facebook, and hope that nobody else loads pictures of you on Facebook.

    Still, I agree, nationalizing Facebook is absolutely the wrong way to go, but since when has the government wanted to have less to do with our lives. Would rather have a government which follows the constitution, and leaves everything else to the people (I know, how libertarian of me.)

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    i think the idea is ridiculous as well, but CA's comment is not completely devoid of merit. The government does have advantages in certain areas.

    For example, if FB were a government-run operation, then Constitutional guarantees would be possible. As a private service, there are none. The government can be more responsive to certain concerns than private institutions are. On the whole, the general public would have a bit more of a say in how the service is run.

    The government is not 100% bad. There are a lot of things the government does now that I'm glad are not done by the private sector, and the more successful the widespread push toward privatization of everything becomes the more evidence I have that there are things that should not be in private hands. Police, warmaking, legislation, management and development of the commons, and much more.

    I'm not arguing the government does an incredibly good job at these things, but that the government does them in a manner less damaging that the private sector.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    Hi Eric,
    I almost entirely agree that true free-market principles are the best way to mitigate risks with search or social engines.

    I also feel history tells us well enough that government is the last place we should invest our trust to keep information universally accessible.

    However I do have a concern that the "free-market" set up here too easily gives way to the illuson of free and corruption once a dominant monopoly has been established.

    With Google being the defacto gatekeeper of information for a great majority, some of their recent "shifts" in policy do seem alarming. For instance, the backroom deals that brought about Content ID, and now burying search results based on "legitimate" notices, indicates a changing of ideals somewhere along the way. I seriously doubt Google made these turnabouts as a result of customer input.

    What monopolies provide is an easy "target" for collusion between extra-market forces and government. It seems highly probable that Google's recent changes were brought about due to behind-the-scenes pressure from both the Entertainment industry and government (with the force coming from the latter). In the realm of information trust, this reality does concern me greatly.

    If the search monopoly we have continues along its current path, we do need to hope that corrective competition is not stifled by patents, copyright disputes or industry/government pressure.

    If the free-market solution failed for some reason to end censorship, where should the public turn?

    What if search ethics/practices were held to a standard managed by an international technical consortium similar to IANA? Certainly not the technology, which needs to evolve naturally, but what about an international apolitical (at least with respect to governments) organization that codified and occasionally checked filtering practices for significant-market search engines?

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re: Stupid question:

    Ecuador

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: Govt Facebook and Privacy?

    How do you know that FB doesn't already provide such access? Right now, they can if they want to and there is no requirement for oversight of any kind. If the government ran it, there would at least be token oversight.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    That's fine - go for it, I was looking for a reason to delete my profile anyway, lol.

     

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    Trails (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    A better idea

    Yeah, but not everyone wants to be mandated to own facebook via taxes, why not allow the public to "opt in" to facebook ownership?

    Setup some sort of system where people can buy a stake in facebook. Say I have five dollars. I choose to buy a small part of facebook with my five dollars, let's call that "stock". The amount of "stock" I would get would depend on market rates. You could even setup an exchange, called a "stock market".

    Wait, what problem are we fixing again?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    Regardless, irregardless is not a word.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    Public education is much better than private....

    Medicare....as an example of the health insurance industry

    OK you lost me there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    Mike did you buy Facebook stock or something? They should get you to write their press releases.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    Private insurance healthcare is a complete failure. It costs more for worse results when you compare the United States to other developed countries. Medicare's flaws are due to politicians favoring private healthcare making it more difficult to use and less efficient so as to support the private(and scammy) healthcare industry. That describes many priblems with government services; many pro-privatization politicians sabotage government services to support their backers.

     

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    Trails (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    Yeah, cause only someone who owns stock would think it's moronic to nationalize Facebook.

     

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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    lolwut?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    The post office is struggling, raising rates significantly and closing facilities. Private delivery companies are maintaining rates while increasing profits, and the major players are consistently shown to be more reliable.

    Graduation rates are higher and college entrance rates on are much higher for private schools vs. public even after adjusting for income. This is despite private schools operating at budgets as much as 2/3rds lower than public schools.

    Doctors are dropping support for Medicare because the program forces them to undercharge, then fails to pay even these reduced bills.

    GM is struggling again.

    Regulation has its place in free societies, and there are some areas where governments are better suited to operate. The poster above who said that the government does not alwas equal bad is right, but neither is government a panacea nor is the private market automatically bad.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    Private insurance healthcare is a complete failure.

    If the goal were "keeping people healthy", I completely agree with you there.

    Medicare's flaws are due to politicians favoring private healthcare making it more difficult to use and less efficient so as to support the private(and scammy) healthcare industry.

    OK, let's say this is true. Medicare and private health insurance still suck, and Doctors are still hog-tied to charge individuals criminally high prices.

    The only way we could start to make a government centered service work, say like medicare, would be to change the minds or change the people of DC.

    I for one am not inclined to give the current flock in DC any more sway over my personal life. If I lived in Iceland, maybe I could learn to trust the people's ability to affect government. In a nation of our size..... I don't know.

     

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    Trails (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    "Irregarless" (I assume you mean irregardless) means the same thing as "regardful".

    Also, when you say "X is demonstrably Y" usually that means you can demonstrate it. Go ahead, I'm patient.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    If I had to make an analogy between FB and a government-owned social network, it would be that Facebook as it stands is like having glass walls on your house, but a government Facebook would be like having glass walls on your house next door to a police station.

     

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    Mike42 (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re:

    Let me take this one: there is no search monopoly. Period.

    There is a major search engine that a lot of people use, and a whole bunch of other search engines that a few people use.

    For those of us who have been on the web longer than 10 years, we have used Alta Vista, Dog Pile, Yahoo, etc. They just don't offer the quality that Google does.
    If you don't like Google, use Bing. Or Alta Vista, Dog Pile, etc. But if you call it a search monopoly again, I'll knock the tin-foil hat off your head, and the government will know what you've been thinking for the last ten years!

    And I'll do it, too.

     

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    Wally, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    Irregardless is an informal term commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since the early twentieth century, though the word appeared in print as early as 1795. Most dictionaries list it as "nonstandard" or "incorrect".

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re: A better idea

    Now we're fixing an even worse problem: the realignment of economic incentives.

    Once a company begins to trade shares of ownership publicly, their highest duty is required by law to be to improve shareholder value. This means that everything else--product quality, basic ethics and morality, risky innovation, long-term planning--must take a backseat to appeasing the shareholders, who have standing to sue you if you don't do everything possible to get them a good return on their investment.

    This is particularly bad for technology companies, because it means that the ultimate levels of decision-making are no longer in the hands of people who understand the technology. We see it time and time again. An excellent company goes public, and within 2-5 years their products all suck. (Remember when Google's search was excellent, back before they went public in 2004?)

    As a friend of mine once said, the worst thing that can happen to anything good is for someone somewhere to realize that there's money in it.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    and *WHY* is the post office struggling ? ? ?
    hmmm ?
    well, a number of reasons, *but* it most assuredly includes that the post office is only quasi-private, and part of that quasi includes kongresskritters who have legislative power over it are requiring them -unlike any other business, period- to be 100% vested in ALL future pension payouts...
    *that* is why...
    an onerous requirement by OUTSIDERS (kongresskritters) to insure that the post office FAILS...
    they are eliminating, crippling, or de-funding ANY gummint institution which actually works on behalf of the people...
    *that* is why...
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Let me take this one: there is no search monopoly. Period.

    Well we're parsing words here, but an overwhelmingly dominant market position, such as Google enjoys, can certainly be construed as monopoly if the position is so solidified as to dissuade others to even attempt to enter the market. Are we there yet with Google? Depends.

    It certainly isn't a good sign that industry and government seem to view Google as the go-to entity for all search related matters. This almost harkens back to when Edison and AT&T were ultimately granted monopolies to unclutter the streets and markets and make it easier for government to regulate their respective industries. This does make my tin foil hat vibrate a bit.

    For those of us who have been on the web longer than 10 years, we have used Alta Vista, Dog Pile, Yahoo, etc

    Personally, I miss Gopher.

    But if you call it a search monopoly again, I'll knock the tin-foil hat off your head, and the government will know what you've been thinking for the last ten years!


    That's just scary. Help, help! I'm being repressed!

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If I had to make an analogy between FB and a government-owned social network, it would be that Facebook as it stands is like having glass walls on your house, but a government Facebook would be like having glass walls on your house next door to a police station.

    Oh, I agree with you, but it wouldn't necessarily have to be next door to a police station -- cameras work wonders and they can be put anywhere. What bothers me of using Facebook as an intelligence gathering operation, regardless to who runs it, is that it only can see a snapshot in time, which means it lacks context. A coworker once remarked about a vacation trip I took that in every picture with me, I was holding a beer.

    Nevermind the fact that I was the one taking the pictures and that there were all of a dozen or so pictures of me compared to the hundreds of pictures of other things -- just given those pictures I was a lush. I had maybe a dozen beers the whole entire 3 week trip, but I had a beer in every picture so I was an alcoholic.

    Looking at pictures and Facebook postings gives little in the way of accurate intelligence, especially if the person posts a couple times between friends. I don't see how a government run site would be any different, other than the fact that you and I would be footing the bills.

     

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    Digitalistically Speaking (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    "BigBrotherBook"

    I like it!

     

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    Digitalistically Speaking (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Re: A better idea

    If you wait a while longer you will be able to get FB stock for $5 a share...it's down to $19 now

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well we're parsing words here, but an overwhelmingly dominant market position, such as Google enjoys, can certainly be construed as monopoly if the position is so solidified as to dissuade others to even attempt to enter the market.


    I don't think that Google's dominance is what dissuades new entrants to the market. I think it's that the market is already saturated. There are a ton of competitors to Google, and I know from experience that you can get along perfectly well without using Google services.

    To me, as long as you have reasonable alternatives to a service or product, there isn't a monopoly.

    Google is certainly the elephant in the room -- but that's a precarious position. Google could become a nobody surprisingly fast, just as the prior unstoppable search behemoths did. Do you remember when Google started? Everyone thought they didn't have a chance, as Alta Vista had search all locked up.

     

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    Digitalistically Speaking (profile), Aug 17th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Nationalized Laudromats

    "That same argument could be used to "nationalize" any company. You know, the laundromat on the corner isn't providing enough social good, so we should nationalize it."


    What a Great thought.

    If the Government took over launromat operations there would be be one Giant Washer and no dryer.

    It would be able to hold all of the laundry of the Neighborhood it serves and would cost 2000.00 per load and only be avail once a week due to ongoing contract negotiations with the International Laundry operators Federal fraternity (ILAFF).
    All the people that want to use it that week would all have to show up at the same time.

    Since they're there to wash their clothes, they would all have to strip naked for their TSA probe.

    Once you get through security everyone would be naked and an orgy would ensue while their waiting for their clothes.


    THERE'S YOUR PUBLIC GOOD RIGHT THERE!

     

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    Sammy, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 3:26pm

    Actually...

    What if you took the idea one step further, and declare Facebook it's own country? It would be an interesting precedent, and I think it would change the way governments look at Facebook. Imagine, a Facebook, a full on country, with a seat and the UN and everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I remember the golden infancy, and those sweet, nearly spam free hits that set Google leagues ahead of their competition's technology....

    Unless the ad or linguistic tech is revolutionary, I'm guessing it would take a charity to make Google sweat today.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: A better idea

    "Once a company begins to trade shares of ownership publicly, their highest duty is required by law to be to improve shareholder value. This means that everything else--product quality, basic ethics and morality, risky innovation, long-term planning--must take a backseat to appeasing the shareholders, who have standing to sue you if you don't do everything possible to get them a good return on their investment."

    Prove to the court that providing the customer with a quality product they value, ensuring more and more customers as well as repeat customers, is not maximizing shareholder value.

    vs.

    Screw the customer. Who needs them?


    One thing a company with no customers does not need is investors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    dont worry facebook will probably not exist at all in the next few years..

    wont bother me in the least.. check out how well the stocks are going for it now !!.. ie backwards...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: A better idea

    so why then is facebooks shares falling like a rock ??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Your dislike of the word makes me gruntled

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Lennart Regebro, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Everyone is stupid. People who think nationalization solves all problems are however just a little bit stupider.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A better idea

    How many customers does facebook have? Are they priority #1(even in a roundabout way)?

    How has facebook been treating its' users? Are thousands of people flocking to it? What is the likelihood of them expanding their user base by any significant amount?

    Why are shares falling like a rock?
    Too high of an initial public offering(IPO).
    Investors sell stock. Some others follow suit. Price goes down. Investors sell stock. Some others follow suit. Price goes down. To a point.

    I don't have time to explain the stock market, but let me say, gut feelings also play a big roll. Now you know why the market is so risky.

    I don't use facebook, yet the sun still came up this morning.
    I don't value facebook and I am sure many investors feel the same way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Well, governments across the world are smart enough to understand it's better they do not take over Facebook or like sites. Even today, they can get data from Facebook for free. Why change it, they virtually own Facebook. Status quo is equivalent to ownership without responsibility. What more can the government ask?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re: Stupid question:

    Well the UN of course.

    The UN is after all a shining example efficiency, transparency and democracy.

    ... oh wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Stupid question:

    Wait, isn't the whole world a colony of the US? /sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    al, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 7:30pm

    what he means by "nationalize" is he wants to steal it. I hate facebook and their stupid button and block them in hosts file, with adblocker, etc., but its sad to see creeps like mr howard feel free to openly discuss stealing someone else's business "for the public good" in the light of day.

    maybe "we" need to "nationalize" slate magazine and fire all the columnists? would you like that mr howard? or maybe you should just be deported to hugo chavez' paradise, where "nationalizing" other people's property happens all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    why is it this clown from slate is only interested in facebook though?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knock 3 times

    nah, the problem is their unions, as usual. They don't need to make $20-$30 an hour for sorting and delivering mail. Neither do UPS van drivers need to make $30 and hour when long haul (18-wheel) truck drivers make as little as $20/hour.

    only good deal USPS had going was their Priority Mail, where you could send something in a box for about $4.00 iirc regardless of the weight(?) but their clerks are so damn slow that nobody wants to go there and wait in line for an hour like the DMV (see a pattern here - unionized gov't workers, slower than shiiite, make you feel like your time is worfless) anyone who values their time now uses something like Stamps dot com instead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re:

    its fun to use though, and tips off others that you're not too bright and attempting to fight above you're weight class (hmm, maybe i should be using it)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 8:03pm

    Re:

    btw, facebook is using browser and machine fingerprinting techniques now to track people. means deleting your cookies does little to stop them and every webpage that has one of those little buttons (fb, twitter, etc) helps them track you even if you don't click on it. they make their money selling info on you, as does google, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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