Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become an ardent social media user in Washington but the New York freshman stated that Silicon Valley firms had excessive power and that the present monopoly trend is economically and societally unsustainable. Ocasio-Cortez’s made these comments shortly after several HuffPost, BuzzFeed and other news organizations’ journalists were laid off. On Saturday she tweeted that ownership concentration and tech monopolies are the greatest threats to journalism. She added that if journalism dies due to no one fighting for it, democracy will die along with it. Following her primary victory, the Democratic Rep. has been using social media remarkably for amplifying issues. Her tweet on Saturday might embolden critics and call for closer scrutiny of Facebook and other social media networks. Matt Stroller of The Open Markets Institute referred to Amazon, Google and Facebook as ‘extortion machines.’ He emphasized how these companies have made themselves increasingly relevant as communications services- both for producers and consumers. This ‘essential’ nature along with business models depending on advertiser cash allow these firms to distort information flow and take all ad money.
Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp and in spite of initial promises made by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, to let the companies remain largely autonomous, he now plans to further integrate the two companies. Zuckerberg defended himself by saying that his company helps smaller businesses globally. Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats said that challenging Big Tech helps Democrats prove how committed they are to combating corporate power.
Facebook said recently that it has plans of investing $300m in programs for helping news organizations. However not all people in Washington seem to believe that the woes of the news industry can be blamed on the Big Tech. US President Trump tweeted about the HuffPost and BuzzFeed lay-offs saying that bad journalism and fake news have led to the current scenario.