Big US technology companies will face more regulatory pressure and scrutiny now that they have infiltrated people’s lives so completely, according to Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
“The worm has turned,” Galloway said in an interview on Bloomberg discussing his book The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. “The breaking point was the weaponisation by an intelligence unit of a foreign government of some of these platforms.”
Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Photo: AP
Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter are facing congressional hearings next month to help explain how Russian-backed operatives used their social and advertising services to spread misinformation and sow discord ahead of the US presidential election last year.
“The regulation or the fines aren’t going to come from where we think,” Galloway said. “I think they’re going to come out of the EU, who registers a lot of the downside including the fears around privacy, some of the job destruction, but a fraction of the upside.”
Google was slapped with a record fine of nearly $US3 billion in June by Europe’s antitrust regulator over how the company favoured its own shopping comparison service in its online search results. The European Commission has other ongoing investigations into Google’s business practices.
When asked what he learned while writing the book, or what was surprising, Galloway said: “These companies played by a different set of rules. They’re not subject to the same scrutiny the rest of business is.”
The very nature of social media networks like Facebook could be making us vulnerable to fake news. Photo: Facebook
Officials in the Trump administration have taken note. The tech companies that were once lauded as innovators and often had the ear of former President Barack Obama, are now facing increasing scrutiny over their size, hiring practices, and whether their online news feeds show a liberal bias.