Andy Kessler doesn’t think EU-style regulation is the answer. (Agreed. Hell, no!) His solution in the Wall Street Journal today is straightforward:
Techies have an expression for Facebook’s model. It’s “free as in beer”—in the sense of costing no money. You pay in other ways. I propose a simple fix. Let’s flip the whole thing—make it about property rights, 21st-century style. America was built on property rights. Congress can deliberate for 90 seconds and then pass the Make the Internet Great Again Act. The bill would contain five words: “Users own their private data.” Finis.
How does Facebook make money under that model? Read Kessler’s piece to find out.
Elsewhere on the Journal’s commentary page, Chris Wilson, who ran Senator Ted Cruz’s digital strategy in 2016, warns Republicans to be careful in their attacks on Facebook. “Tread carefully, my Republican friends, lest you transform the tool that bypasses the media filter into another media filter, with all the inherent biases,” he writes.
Wilson notes, “Regulation is considered only when Republicans become innovative enough to surpass Democrats in digital campaigning.” Well, that’s true as far as it goes. (Which is why guys like Sheldon Whitehouse were all over Zuckerberg, too.) It’s clear in the aftermath of 2016, however, that Facebook intends to make sure the disfavored, nonprogressive party won’t have that advantage going forward.
Facebook is not neutral. In reality, no content-provider or platform is. That’s the point.