Reports indicate that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is taking a critical view of media giants Google and Facebook as natural monopolies that should be regulated like utilities or the airwaves, which is why there exists the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), since the airwaves belong to the public.
The Intercept reports that Bannon views Google and Facebook as tech companies in command of such a vital resource for everyday life, similar to electricity or water, that they should come under more regulation.
Bannon reportedly stated that companies such as Google and Facebook have become so essential to the internet and to the everyday life of many U.S. citizens that they should be regulated as a natural monopoly. Bannon’s position is becoming an increasingly popular one amongst tech experts. Jonathan Taplin, the author of Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, recently claimed that tech companies like Google and Facebook have become too big and may need to be broken up.
Google and Facebook have been dominating the online advertising industry in recent years, with analysis company Pivotal Research reporting recently that Google and Facebook combined accounted for 99% of all online ad industry growth in 2016. Traditional news outlets recently requested an antitrust exemption for congress in order to negotiate with companies like Google and Facebook in relation to advertising partnerships.
In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, David Charen, explored the financial figures behind the two media empires and it's hard to deny their reach.
“The problem is that today’s internet distribution systems distort the flow of economic value derived from good reporting,” said Charen. “Google and Facebook dominate web traffic and online ad income," he wrote.
“Together, they account for more than 70% of the $73 billion spent each year on digital advertising, and they eat up most of the growth,” he explained. “Nearly 80% of all online referral traffic comes from Google and Facebook. This is an immensely profitable business.”