June 9, 2021

JOEL KOTKIN: America’s Overdue to Unfriend Mark Zuckerberg: The tech boss is finally being recognized as the American villain he is, rather than the folk hero he’s tried to present himself as.

Zuckerberg finally stands exposed as a leading member of the new techno-aristocracy manipulating the world and shaping our society to fit their own world view, while getting ever richer in the process.

This ascendency offers little for most Americans, even as Americans have provided so much to Zuckerberg and his ilk as tech has become ever more concentrated and monopolistic, putting a lie to the heroic myth of “a guy and a garage.” Since 2019, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have added more than two and a half trillion dollars to their valuation, including record-breaking profits in 2020 as the pandemic shut down much of the in-person economy, while workers and consumers have faced stagnant incomes and purchasing power.

This is, as the left of center American Prospect put it, “predatory capitalism.” . . .

This accrual of power relies on having influence in Washington. Quasi-monopolies like Facebook could never have grown into such behemoths if not for the willingness of regulators, in both parties, to let them buy potential competitors like Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp. Taking a proactive approach, Zuckerberg put several fingers on the scales to assure the defeat of the less controllable Trump by financing Election Day operations in many critical states through an obscure Chicago based front group, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which used its Facebook windfall to fund election offices, and staffers, around the country.

Facebook itself, along with Twitter, also de-platformed the New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper, to keep information about Hunter Biden’s laptop from circulating.

The “robber barons” gave us railroads and public libraries. Zuck gave us Farmville and censorship.

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