I had initially looked at the FAAAN group (Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet/Google, Apple and Netflix), and shown how the prevailing view of Antitrust and Monopoly analysis did not fit their activities in the classical sense, but required a new paradigm that focused on the Gig eConomy, and I presented that model in some depth.[1]  Then, I singled-out Amazon as the most likely member of this group to first feel the impact of a push to break-up, due to its constant expansion into new “physical” areas in addition to the “virtual”, and the ever-greater number of competitors that these incursions invariably disrupted.[2]

Now, however, after reading Virginia Senator Mark Warner’s draft paper on Big Tech. regulation,[3] and after a review of his proposed bipartisan bill with Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer aimed at curbing what some feel has been the default “culture and conduct” of the more notorious of these online giants,[4] as well as other developments described below, I think the first target will more likely be one of the “data ‘gators” (aggregators and disseminators) – either Facebook or Alphabet/Google, or perhaps both … but this does not mean Amazon is entirely out of the limelight.

Why?  Let me explain.



Historic allegations of “collusion”[5] and the use of Facebook by certain parties to carry-out foreign interference in the 2016 United States federal election campaign[6] (which saw the election of Donald J. Trump on November 9, 2019),[7] and criminal indictments issued against several Russian nationals as the aforementioned parties;[8] as well as prison sentences for several U.S. Citizens on a diversity of charges stemming from the recently concluded Mueller investigation of Russian election interference,[9] coupled with the Cambridge Analytica affair which originally broke on March 17, 2018,[10] have all kept Facebook in the public headlights – bobbing, weaving, playing whack-a-mole, and collecting hard body blows.[11]

In a public opinion piece, Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, tried to address some of these concerns and dispel some of that public and regulatory ire, by saying:

“I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators.  After focusing on these issues for the past two years, I think it’s important to define what roles we want companies and governments to play.  By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.”

“From what I’ve learnt, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.”[12]

In further pleading for a single global regulatory standard for online privacy and conduct as opposed to disparate and perhaps even conflicting rules – all competing for their own extraterritorial primacy – that might even fracture and fragment the Internet (and therefore the influence, global reach, relevance, market shares and market capitalizations of Facebook and the other online giants here listed), Mr. Zuckerberg writes, “[i] believe Facebook has a responsibility to help address these issues and I am looking forward to discussing them with lawmakers around the world.[13]  But then, he has also been a no-show in response to the invitations to talk, of more than one group of lawmakers.[14]

In contrast, while calling for a breakup of Facebook, Chris Hughes, the company co-founder, opines over it in light of recent and ongoing events involving, and revolving around, Facebook, in lamenting that:

“The company’s mistakes — the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention — dominate the headlines.”[15]

Facebook also has dual, leading roles as both a host platform publishing the posts, news, streams and feeds of others, and a publisher in choosing what does or does not get out, at one and the same time.[16]



Alphabet/Google, for its part, also had its own running battles with bad publicity, most notably in Europe,[17] where the focus has ranged from antitrust and privacy, through the EU Right to be Forgotten, to emerging views on copyright laws, illegal content,[18] and consideration of the revenue potential in taxing search engines and other internet services[19] in an effort to avoid the tax base erosion of the type used by large and sophisticated, highly-profitable entities that end up paying little to no taxes[20] – all whether before or after breaking these entities up.[21]



Amazon has been drawing serial regulatory scrutiny like a magnet in Europe – from the EU itself, Germany, Austria, France, and most recently, Italy.[22]  These cases all revolve around accusations of use of a dominant position to favour one’s own and related offerings, over those of rivals, preferential delivery fullfilment, vendor obligations to disclose pricing, and a direct complaint by France over Amazon terms of service in general – all due to Amazon’s dual and leading roles as both host marketplace for the wares of others and marketer for its own and related wares, at one and the same time.[23]  There have also been breaches at Amazon Web Services (AWS), exposing customer data and impacting privacy.[24]



Apart from some taxing queries,[25] Apple had for a long time, mostly steered clear of data scandals and unwanted regulatory scrutiny.  However, revelation of the FaceTime application vulnerability, which allowed callers to hear audio and access video feeds from certain subjects before they even answered those incoming calls;[26] coupled with the well-publicized practice of slowing down older versions of its flagship iPhone,[27] and a recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court that gave Apple App Store users the right to sue Apple directly – not as an intermediary – for monopolistic practices in the sale of applications for its platform and the distribution of system updates,[28] threw Apple right into the heart of the dual spotlights on data privacy and abusive market dominance, where the company met its above three peers: Amazon, Alphabet/Google, and Facebook, already sweating from the heat.  As a result, the Apple CEO has engaged in his own exercise of bobbing and weaving, as he asks for comprehensive regulation[29] of the data, social media, online search and online marketplace industries with four guiding principles:

“First, the right to have personal data minimized.  Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why.  Third, the right to access.  Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data.  And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.”[30] [Emphasis added].

He further suggested that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) establish a “data-broker clearinghouse” where all data brokers would have to register, and at and through which people could exercise their privacy rights, and especially under the third of his four principles.[31]



Netflix has been growing by leaps and bounds and now has some 130 million subscribers worldwide, in over 190 nations.[32]  While most subscribers are too busy enjoying what they are watching (actually, often “binge”-watching with all of its drawbacks),[33] to complain too much (if at all), there have been troubling allegations of insensitivity to mass casualty disaster footage,[34] and at least one comparison of the growing global footprint of Netflix content, to the similarly expansive British and French colonialism of yore, in its broad and deep reach through our eyes, directly into our hearts and minds.[35]

As a huge and powerful company, similar in scale to the Facebooks of the world, the mistakes that Netflix makes have global implications.  Through the stories Netflix decides to tell and promote, this company shapes how we decide to be.  A show, movie or documentary can change our beliefs about life itself.[36]

Admittedly, achieving this current lead in the over the top (OTT) space was no cakewalk, as there were allegations of throttling (slowing the content stream) on some platforms while leaving others alone, by exploiting a rather large regulatory loophole that did not specifically prohibit that practice for entities like Netflix;[37] and major regulatory hurdles in its early Asian expansion, ranging from a shortage of local language content and local payment options, through delays due to a need for age-appropriate ratings, to criticisms for displaying prohibited violence or sexual content.[38]  Similarly, just as with its FAAAN peers here listed, Netflix also had its own European problems, in allegations from European cinema associations that it was benefitting from public funding, lax regulation, and even more loopholes, such as receiving UK tax rebates but paying no UK business taxes.[39]



Adding to this generalized agitation amongst the four (excluding Netflix) entities dominating this BigData online terrain, a concerted effort by regulators in 9 countries[40] to understand and address their shortcomings, had started to take shape in 2018, known as the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News (or the “International Grand Committee”, for short), with its inaugural evidentiary meeting held at the House of Parliament in London, England, on November 27, 2018.[41]  Faced with the repeated unwillingness and/or inability of Mark Zuckerberg to be present and answer International Grand Committee questions, the committee had accepted the attendance of Richard Allan, Vice President of Policy Solutions at Facebook, in his stead; still believing that “Mark Zuckerberg is the appropriate person to answer important questions about data privacy, safety, security and sharing.”[42]

A second, 2019 meeting of the International Grand Committee in Ottawa, Canada, hosted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics at the House of Parliament, saw 5 additional nation-states sending representatives,[43]and this time, both Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandberg of Facebook, were subpoenaed, but did not attend in person or give video evidence; which latter option had also been offered.[44]  The assembled parliamentarians and their witnesses were not at all shy in expressing their frustrations and views regarding the absence of and need for social media privacy protections, Facebook in general, and its two invited but absent executives, in particular.[45]  The Committee has, however, developed 5 guiding principles to, inter alia, counter disinformation, keep personal data safe online, and more efficiently and effectively, and speedily identify and remove terrorist and violent extremist online content;[46] which are:

“(1) The internet is global and law relating to it must derive from globally agreed principles;

(2) The deliberate spreading of disinformation and division is a credible threat to the continuation and growth of democracy and a civilizing global dialogue;

(3) Global technology firms must recognize their great power and demonstrate their readiness to accept their great responsibility as holders of influence;

(4) Social media companies should be held liable if they fail to comply with a judicial, statutory or regulatory order to remove harmful and misleading content from their platforms, and should be regulated to ensure they comply with this requirement;

(5) Technology companies must demonstrate their accountability to users by making themselves fully answerable to national legislatures and other organs of representative democracy.”[47][Emphasis added]

So it is, that within the highest government circles in the United States, itself, from whence these Internet and Gig eConomy giants hail, there is an increasing realization that if their nation does not “at the very least” have a seat at the table, then its champion creations will be subjected to the regulations of everyone other than itself; and so both U.S. legislators and regulators have met this challenge, with:

  • Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner (VA) and Republican Senator Deb Fischer (NE) introducing the Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (“DETOUR”) Act;[48]
  • In the House of Representatives, the House Judiciary Committee, through its Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, launched a bipartisan initiative to “investigate the rise and use of market power online and assess the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and current enforcement levels”;[49] and
  • Due to the size and scope of these modern internet giants and the “significant” federal resources needed to thoroughly review their business practices, an alleged gentleman’s agreement among the U.S. chief regulators on these hotly contested digital terrains and techniques has meant that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will focus on and review the practices of Apple and Alphabet/Google, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will focus on and review the practices of Amazon and Facebook.[50]

Now ….. with all this attention on these above four behemoths, one would THINK, that tip-toeing around for the meantime would not be such a bad practise for them to quickly adopt, right? Well …..

  • On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Facebook announced that it planned to roll out a cryptocurrency (Libra) in 2020, adding customer financial information and purchasing habits to the customer personal data and browsing and sharing habits that it was under scrutiny for …. managing?![51]
  • Also on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Amazon announced that it would partner with Mastercard and TD Bank Group to offer a new branded, loyalty credit card in Canada – earning both cash back, and points that would be “automatically” redeemed as an Amazon gift card upon reaching a certain level; and thereby pushing Amazon further into the banking realm.[52]

Understandably, the reaction to Facebook’s announcement was the louder and the most widespread.[53]



“Google, Facebook, and their cousins Apple and Amazon have grown so vast that they have aroused the ire of the entire political establishment.  And they aren’t only transforming journalism but also politics, retail, and virtually all commerce.  The regulation, or even the breakup, of these companies is a long way off, and it’s not clear what form it would take.  But the journey has begun.”[54]

Let us consider the domestic scope of these entities, to better understand why the regulators are so incentivized and why the tech giants cannot help BUT further instigate the investigators with every step.

  • In 2017, search engines generated $59.7 billion in U.S. revenues alone, with a combined 97% of that domestic market share held by Alphabet/Google (91%) and Microsoft (6%) – leaving 3% to all of their domestic competitors;[55]
  • In 2018, social networking sites generated $34 billion in U.S. revenues alone, with a combined 85% of that domestic market share held by Facebook (70%), LinkedIn (10%), and Twitter (5%) – leaving 11% to all of their domestic competitors;[56]
  • In 2018, the eCommerce industry generated $525.9 billion in U.S. revenues alone, with a combined 56% of that domestic market share held by Amazon (49%) and eBay (7%) – leaving 44% to all of their domestic competitors.[57]
  • Without even discussing revenues, the 3 top smartphone operating system manufacturers in the United States in 2012 had a combined 94% of that domestic market share, being Google (49%), Apple (30%), and Blackberry (15%) – leaving 6% to all of their domestic competitors;[58] but by 2018 – a mere 6 years later – Blackberry no longer made smartphone operating systems at all, Google had 54% and Apple had 45% of the domestic market share, and all of their domestic competitors combined to control a mere 1% of that market.[59]

Not only do the listed companies have these revenues and control (or dominate) these market shares, they also control an increasing amount of the related[60] and (at least previously) unrelated[61] space around them, as I have shown in earlier posts.  Facebook, for example, controls Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and Masquerade;[62] Alphabet’s most notable offerings are Google Play, Maps, and Search, Google Cloud, Android, YouTube, and Waymo,[63] but it ultimately owns and controls over 200 separate companies;[64] Apple is already well known for its iPhone and other leading businesses of Siri, iCloud, and Beats Electronics, but it also owns and controls  Shazam, Emagic, Anobit Technologies, PrimeSense, and NeXT, Inc.;[65] and while Amazon’s reputation leads with Alexa, Echo, Kindle, Whole Foods Market, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company also owns and controls Audible, Kiva Systems, Twitch Interactive, Ring, Zappos, and PillPack, Inc.[66]

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”[67]

In that quotation, Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, speaks of the sheer concentration of power in Facebook’s leader.  This shows that monopoly and market dominance do not have to mean a constant commission of intentional bad acts because that kind of latent power, alone, can be sufficiently prohibitive of and harmful to, competition.  When coupled with the other above examples, is it any surprise, then, that these relentlessly acquisitive (and “disruptive” to incumbent businesses and business models) parent companies have instigated the investigators and attracted so much attention?



Returning to some of the resurgent legalities, Senator Warner’s social media regulation proposals,[68] and his bipartisan bill with Senator Fischer,[69] both focus on addressing and deterring cases of demonstrated misconduct, restoring trust and confidence in the services offered and in the privacy of personal data online, and re-asserting the supremacy of at least one state (the apparent home state, or at least the state of claimed origin) over these borderless and relentless non-state actors.



Senator Warner’s policy proposals identified the following three focal areas for policymakers:

  1. (…) understanding the capacity for communications technologies to promote disinformation that undermines trust in our institutions, democracy, free press, and markets;”[70]
  2. (…) consumer protection in the digital age;”[71]
  3. (…) the rise of a few dominant platforms poses key problems for long-term competition and innovation across multiple markets, including digital advertising markets (which support much of the Internet economy), future markets driven by machine-learning and artificial intelligence, and communications technology markets.[72]

Proposals to counter online disinformation, included the labeling of bots, authentication of accounts and knowing the origin of posts, identifying fake accounts, imposing platform liability for state law torts such as defamation, a public interest right of data access, establishing an interagency taskforce to counter asymmetric threats to democracy, required disclosures for online political advertising, a media literacy campaign for the public, and creating a true deterrent against foreign manipulation online.[73]

Proposals to enhance online privacy and protect online data, included statutory classification and regulation of certain online providers as “information fiduciaries”, granting authority to the Federal Trade Commission to enact Rules on privacy, a comprehensive federal data protection legislation, first party consent to data collection as linked to addressing dark patterns, and fairness and transparency in algorithmic decision-making.[74]

Proposals to ensure long-term competition and innovation despite a growing concentration threat, included a data transparency bill, a “data as portable property” bill, interoperability, permitting academic researchers and qualified (smaller) businesses to access federal datasets and collections, and prescribing a base of sheer size or market share, or a level of dependence by others, at which a core function or application or platform becomes an “essential facility” with certain mandatory duties.[75]

At the heart of all of these problems, however, were dark patterns, which he wanted “statutorily determined” to be unfair and deceptive trade practices – a direct progenitor for his proposed Bill:

“Dark patterns are user interfaces that have been intentionally designed to sway (or trick) users towards taking actions they would otherwise not take under effective, informed consent.  Often, these interfaces exploit the power of defaults – framing a user choice as agreeing with a skewed default option (which benefits the service provider) and minimizing alternative options available to the user.”[76]



And then, adding real, tangible weight to those thoughts, Senator Warner joined with Senator Fischer,[77] to introduce the “Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act” on April 9, 2019.[78]  Actual examples of dark patterns include default privacy settings set to maximum sharing, consents buried deep within long and complex terms of service, spamming contacts with invitations to join once those contacts have been shared with a platform, auto-play videos that encourage compulsive usage and other addictive behaviour in serial viewing – especially in those under the age of 13, un-announced behavioural and psychological experiments and research –often conducted without informed consent, and other mechanisms and manipulative user interfaces that make it easy to sign-up for a service and very hard to cancel it and leave.[79]

Apart from targeting compulsive usage (“any response stimulated by external factors that causes an individual to engage in repetitive purposeful, and intentional behavior causing psychological distress, loss of control, anxiety, depression, or harmful stress responses”),[80] and calling for more informed consent by research subjects (who must be over the age of 13),[81] with “clear, conspicuous, context-appropriate, and easily-accessible[82] routine research disclosures no less often then every 90-days,[83] the proposed Act also restricts its application to large online operators with “more than 100,000,000 authenticated users of an online service in any 30-day period”,[84] and calls for independent review boards to oversee behavioural or psychological research[85] and themselves register with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC).[86]  The Act would see some limited self-regulation through professional standards bodies of associated online operators[87] which developed bright line rules and safe harbors for member conduct that did not infringe the Act’s provisions, but all would remain subject to the FTC if the conduct rose to be or constitute such unfair or deceptive acts or practices as the FTC shall or may from time to time define.[88]



Suspicions and sanctions regarding these entities for behaviours falling short of, equating, and going beyond mere dark patterns[89] to constitute sharp business practices, at the very least, have been around for quite some time …. and names were  named.  Examples of these alleged behaviours, have included:

  • User profiling and contact mining to better target them for advertising campaigns and contact list growth (Alphabet/ Google, LinkedIn);[90]
  • Copying the most popular offerings of vendors, as the marketplace host (Amazon); [91]
  • Preferring one’s own offerings and limiting the visibility or the functionality of the offerings of others (Amazon, Alphabet/Google, Apple);[92]
  • Liberally borrowing features from competitor sites (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram);[93]

Hughes further writes:

“As a result of all this, would-be competitors can’t raise the money to take on Facebook.  Investors realize that if a company gets traction, Facebook will copy its innovations, shut it down or acquire it for a relatively modest sum.  So despite an extended economic expansion, increasing interest in high-tech start-ups, an explosion of venture capital and growing public distaste for Facebook, no major social networking company has been founded since the fall of 2011.”

“As markets become more concentrated, the number of new start-up businesses declines.  This holds true in other high-tech areas dominated by single companies, like search (controlled by Google) and e-commerce (taken over by Amazon).  Meanwhile, there has been plenty of innovation in areas where there is no monopolistic domination, such as in workplace productivity (Slack, Trello, Asana), urban transportation (Lyft, Uber, Lime, Bird) and cryptocurrency exchanges (Ripple, Coinbase, Circle).”[94]

  • Most recently (or should we say, “most recently noticed and publicized”), is the deployment and use in brick and mortar retail locations, of customer tracking Bluetooth beacons …. [95] implying that the lessons of all these earlier run-ins with assorted regulators, just didn’t stick.[96]

But, as belligerent parties increase the tempo to gain that extra ground or that extra piece of negotiating leverage in the waning days of an armed conflict, with the ceasefire date looming, so too in this mirror universe, with U.S. tech giants finding themselves “at the eve of the end” of absent to light touch U.S. regulation – due to the fact that other nations have taken-up that slack, [97] and somewhat embarrassed the U.S. into action [98]– these tech giants are now furiously expanding in all directions as far as they can and as fast as they can, in the hope that something tangible and worth branding will still be viable and left standing, once related and unrelated businesses and even the core business intestines, have all been regulatorily wrangled and disentangled, and well-whittled away – all to the lasting benefit of the consuming public, as Chris Hughes further writes:

“But the biggest winners would be the American people. Imagine a competitive market in which they could choose among one network that offered higher privacy standards, another that cost a fee to join but had little advertising and another that would allow users to customize and tweak their feeds as they saw fit. No one knows exactly what Facebook’s competitors would offer to differentiate themselves.  That’s exactly the point.”[99]

In addition to the above regulatory rumblings, now that the incumbent republican President Donald J. Trump,[100] a true maverick, has “for targeting only” joined democratic senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren,[101] another true maverick, to call for lawsuits against big tech. and even for breaking them up (albeit for different reasons),[102] and especially Facebook, star of the most heated current media and regulatory attention – but not to the exclusion of Amazon, Twitter, and Alphabet/Google … that breakup hammer in this pre-season for the Q4 2020 U.S. presidential election, could fall at any time.

As another commentator has lamented, “[n]o existing regulatory framework exists or has been conceived for a global company holding personal data on one-third of the planet’s population.  Just as importantly, the commercial model driving social media is inconsistent with a ‘privacy first’ approach.  And both those factors will now lead into a back and forth on regulation and sanctions across the world.[103]

Around the world, however, some businesses are already working under and creating solutions to stay within, the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by giving data subjects more control of their own personal data and operations or analytics regarding that personal data,[104] while others still struggle to comply with that and other new and evolving stringent privacy provisions.[105] 

So, let us keep watching this U.S. prize fight (or grand mélée, as ever more of the competitive landscape is co-opted into the dance around the eye of this ever-growing storm) with the data (aggre)-gatorsFacebook, Amazon, and Alphabet/Google, as they serenade and parade for, trade shots with, evade the dragnets of, and are potentially flayed and dismayed on full public and permanent display by, their own assorted and sundry “local” regulators.[106]




Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experience in regulatory compliance, litigation, and business law and counseling.  He has been licensed to practise law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.  See, for example:  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Energy, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy; working with equal ease and effectiveness in his transitions to and from the public and private sectors.  He is a published author on the national security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal millieux.


Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practising law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, crisis consulting, and targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: healthcare; education and training; law and regulation; policy and plans; statistics, economics, and evaluations including feasibility studies and business cases; infrastructure; and information technology/information systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed information communications technologies (ICT).  See, for example:


Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.


[1] Ekundayo George.  Monopolies and Market Dominance in the “GIG” eConomy: What Might These Look Like / Are We There Yet?  Posted July 16, 2017 on Online: ><

[2] Ekundayo George.  Monopolies and Market Dominance in the “GIG” eConomy? We are Getting There! Posted February 19, 2018 on  Online: ><

[3] United States Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice-Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee, United States Senate. White Paper (DRAFT).  Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Companies.  Visited June 6, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[4] United States Senator Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]; United States Senator Fischer, Deb [R-NE], Co-sponsors.  S.1084 –Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act.  Introduced April 9, 2019 in the 116th Congress, 1st Session (2019-2020).  Visited June 19, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[5] For a deep dive into the collusion, issue, See e.g. Ryan Goodman.  Guide to the Mueller Report’s Findings on “Collusion”.  Posted April 29, 2019 on  Online:  ><

[6] Issie Lapowski.  How Russian Facebook Ads Divided and Targeted US Voters Before the 2016 Election.  Posted April 16, 2018 on  Online: ><

[7] BBC.  US election 2016 result: Trump beats Clinton to take White House.  Posted November 9, 2016 on  Online: ><


[9] Amy Sherman.  All of the people facing charges from Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling.  Posted March 25, 2019 on  Online: > also Alex Boutilier, Craig Silverman, Jane Lytvynenko.  Canadians are being targeted by foreign influence campaigns, CSIS says.  Posted July 2, 2019 on  Online:  ><  Canada is preparing for its fall 2019 federal elections, with some trepidation.  See infra note 96 and accompanying text (The Canadian Press: Canada’s electoral integrity).

[10] Issie Lapowski.  How Cambridge Analytica Sparked the Great Privacy Awakening.  Posted March 17, 2019 on  Online: > also Catharine Tunney · CBC News.  A year after Cambridge Analytica scandal, calls for a national data strategy grow.  Posted March 17, 2019 on  Online: ><

[11] Id.; See also supra, note 6.

[12] Mark Zuckerberg.  Mark Zuckerberg: ‘Yes, we need regulation – but we can’t do it on our own’.  Posted March 30, 2019 on  Online: ><

[13] Ibid.

[14] See e.g. notes 42, 44, and 45 and accompanying text for mentions of Mr. Zuckerberg’s unavailability.

[15] Chris Hughes.  Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.  Posted May 9, 2019 on  Online: ><

[16] Ibid.

 “Mark used to insist that Facebook was just a “social utility,” a neutral platform for people to communicate what they wished.  Now he recognizes that Facebook is both a platform and a publisher and that it is inevitably making decisions about values.  The company’s own lawyers have argued in court that Facebook is a publisher and thus entitled to First Amendment protection.”

“No one at Facebook headquarters is choosing what single news story everyone in America wakes up to, of course.  But they do decide whether it will be an article from a reputable outlet or a clip from “The Daily Show,” a photo from a friend’s wedding or an incendiary call to kill others.”

[17] Ivana Kottasová, CNN Business.  How Europe is forcing Google to change.  Posted March 20, 2019 on  Online: ><

[18] Id.

[19] Reuters.  UK proposes a 2% tax on tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook for profits they make in the country.  Posted October 29, 2018 on  Online: > also The Associated Press.  French lawmakers approve 3% tax on online giants.  Posted July 4, 2019 on  Online:  ><  This online tax in France has passed the lower house or National Assembly, and awaits a vote in the nation’s upper house of legislators, the Senate.

[20] Nick Statt.  Apple agrees to pay Ireland $15.4 billion in back taxes to appease EU.  Posted December 4, 2017 on  Online: ><

[21] Ben Fox Rubin, Marguerite Reardon.  Momentum grows to break up big tech, as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple face scrutiny.  Posted June 11, 2019 and updated June 14, 2019 on  Online: ><

[22] Thibault Larger.  Italy competition watchdog opens probe into Amazon, adding to EU list.  The European Commission, the Austrian and German authorities have also been looking into the company.  Posted April 16, 2019 and updated April 17, 2019 on  Online: ><

[23] IdSee also Boris Groendahl.  Amazon’s Legal Woes Grow as Austria Probes Online Giant.  Posted February 14, 2019 on  Online: ><

[24] Catalin Cimpanu for Zero Day.  Contractor’s AWS S3 server leaks data from Fortune 100 companies: Ford, Netflix, TD Bank.  Posted June 28, 2019 and updated June 30, 2019 on  Online: > also Mark Ward Technology correspondent, BBC News.  Exposed Amazon cloud storage clients get tip-off alerts.  Posted February 20, 2018 on  Online: > also Becky Peterson.  Forget stealing data — these hackers hijacked Amazon cloud accounts to mine bitcoin.  Posted October 8, 2017 on  Online: ><

[25] Supra note 20.

[26] Davey Winder. Contributor.  Apple Confirms iPhone FaceTime Eavesdropping Exploit — Here’s What To Do.  Posted January 29, 2019 on  Online: > contra Malcolm Owen.  ‘Celebgate’ iCloud hack perpetrator sentenced to 34 months in prison.  Posted March 1, 2019 on  Online: ><  Apple was initially blamed for this, but internal and police investigations showed that the company was not at fault.

[27] Michelle Toh, Ben Geier and Ivana Kottasová.  Global backlash spreads over Apple slowing down iPhones.  Posted February 1, 2018 on  Online: ><

[28] See Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., No. 17-204, Slip op. (S. Ct., 2019), 587 U.S. ___ (2019), Argued November 26, 2018—Decided May 13, 2019.  Online: ><

[29] Tim Cook.  You Deserve Privacy Online. Here’s How You Could Actually Get It.  Visited June 17, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Jo Ellison.  Is Netflix’s global dominance a force for good or bad?  Posted December 27, 2018 on  Online: > also Louis Brennan.  How Netflix Expanded to 190 Countries in 7 Years.  Posted October 12, 2018 on  Online: ><

[33] Joanna Clay.  Health. Science/Technology.  Is Netflix bad for you? How binge-watching could hurt your health.  Posted December 15, 2017 on  Online: ><

[34] The Canadian Press.  CBC president compares Netflix influence to colonialism.  Posted and last updated January 31, 2019 on  Online: ><

[35] Ibid.

[36] Todd Van Luling.  HuffPost US.  Why Netflix Should Scare You More Than It Does – Facebook can influence elections, but Netflix can influence hearts and minds.  Posted October 10, 2018 on  Online: ><  There have also been allegations of factually inaccurate and otherwise problematic documentaries being presented as the truth or reality, when they are not quite so.

[37] Mike Wendy.  Netflix: Do as I say, not as I do.  Posted April 26, 2016 on  Online: ><

[38] Nataly Pak, Eveline Danubrata.  In Asia, Netflix trips on regulation, content, and competition.  Posted April 21, 2016 on  Online: ><

[39] Andreas Wiseman.  Germany’s Largest Cinema Org Issues Netflix Warning As Streamer Encounters Growing Euro Heat.  Posted September 18, 2018 on  Online: ><

[40] U.K. Parliament, Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  Parliamentarians from across the world to question Richard Allan of Facebook, and the Information Commissioner at inaugural hearing of ‘international grand committee’ on Disinformation and ‘fake news’.  Posted on on September 23, 2018.  Online:  ><  The 9 nation-state members of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News, were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore and members of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Jesse Hirsh.  What You Need to Know about the Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy.  Posted May 29, 2019 on  Online: ><  The 5 additional nation-states represented at this second meeting, were Ecuador, Estonia, Mexico, Morocco, and Trinidad and Tobago.

[44] Id.

[45] See generally Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press.  Big data committee blasts Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg for ignoring Parliament’s subpoena.  Posted May 28, 2019 on  Online: ><

[46] Howard Solomon.  Social media giants focus of three-day parliamentary hearing in Ottawa.  Posted May 27th, 2019 on  Online: ><

[47] Ibid.; See also infra, note 96, and Twitter’s censorship action in apparent subscription to and compliance with, principles 2 and 5.

[48] Press Release.  Office of Senator Mark R. Warner (Democrat, Virginia).  Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ban Manipulative ‘Dark Patterns’.  Posted April 9, 2019 on  Online:   > also Press Release.  Office of Senator Deb Fischer (Republican, Nebraska).  SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO BAN MANIPULATIVE ‘DARK PATTERNS’.  Posted April 9, 2019 on  Online: ><

Senator Warner, as a Virginia Democrat, serves on the Senate Banking, Budget, Finance, and Rules Committees, as well as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence where he is the Vice-chairman.  He was also a single-term Governor of the state of Virginia (2002-6) and an early investor and longtime executive in the company that would become Nextel Communications and then merge with Sprint Corporation, a mobile telephony provider.  He is therefore well-versed in the evolving terrain and techniques of privacy and responsible data management.  See e.g. The Office of Senator Mark R. Warner.  Biography.  Visited June 18, 2019.  Online: ><

On her part, Senator Fischer, as a Nebraska Republican, serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, where she is chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security; and she also chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.  Senator Fischer has further served in the Nebraska legislature where she was a member of the Revenue Committee, the Natural Resources Committee and the Executive Board, and she is similarly well-versed in the in the evolving terrain and techniques of privacy and responsible data management, from having also chaired the Nebraska Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunication Committee.  See e.g. The Office of Senator Deb Fischer.  Biography.  About Deb.  Visited June 18, 2019.  Online: ><

[49] U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Press Release 116th Congress.  House Judiciary Committee Launches Bipartisan Investigation into Competition in Digital Markets.  Posted June 3, 2019 on  Online: ><

[50] Seth Fiegerman, CNN Business.  Google, Facebook and Apple could face US antitrust probes as regulators divide up tech territory.  Posted and updated June 3, 2019 on  Online: > also Anna Edgerton / Bloomberg.  House Judiciary Committee Opens Bipartisan Probe of Competition in Tech Industry.  Posted June 3, 2019 on  Online: ><

[51] Nick Statt.  Facebook confirms it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020.  Posted June 18, 2019 on  Online: ><  Financial institution and financial intermediary data breaches such as the events at Desjardins (and cash or coin captures such as the events at QuadrigaCX) are not new, but they still cause widespread shockwaves when they occur, and the risk of the world seeing ever more of them is very real, indeed.  See e.g. Howard Solomon.  Huge data theft by employee at Canadian credit union.  Posted June 21, 2019 on  Online: > also Theron Mohamed.  Experts finally tracked down the digital wallets of the crypto CEO who died with sole access to millions. They say the money’s gone.  Posted March 6, 2019 on  Online: ><  This is not to downplay the risk of bad acts resulting from giving insiders too much access to personal customer data, or not properly questioning and monitoring an employee’s claimed “need to know”.  See e.g. Zak Doffman.  U.S. Authorities Target Zuckerberg As Facebook ‘Buries’ Huge Instagram Password Breach.  Posted April 19, 2019 on  Online:  ><  In fact, social media alone, before adding-in any cryptocurrency tagalong application, has already been identified as a prime and massive enabler of cybercrime.  See e.g. Helpnet Security.  Social media-enabled cybercrime is generating $3.25 billion a year.  Posted February 27, 2019 on  Online: ><

[52] RTTNews.  Amazon Canada, TD Bank, Mastercard Unveil Rewards Mastercard.  Posted June 18, 2019 on  Online: ><

[53] Kate Rooney.  Facebook’s ambitious cryptocurrency plan is met by a wall of regulatory and data concerns.  Posted and updated June 19, 2019 on  Online: ><

[54] Jeffrey Toobin.  The House Judiciary Committee Considers Antitrust Law, the Tech Giants, and the Future of News. Posted June 14, 2019 on  Online: ><

[55] Open Markets Institute.  America’s Concentration Crisis.  An Open Markets Institute Report.  Posted 2019 on and visited June 16, 2019.  Online:<  See e.g. Social Networking Sites. ><

[56] Id. at Search Engines. ><

[57] Supra note 55 at E-commerce. ><

[58] Supra note 55 at Smartphone Operating Systems (Show Historical Data). ><

[59] Supra note 55 at Smartphone Operating Systems (Show Current Data). ><

[60] Ekundayo George.  Monopolies and Market Dominance in the “GIG” eConomy: What Might These Look Like / Are We There Yet?  Posted July 16, 2017 on Online: ><

[61] Ekundayo George.  Monopolies and Market Dominance in the “GIG” eConomy? We are Getting There!  Posted February 19, 2018 on  Online: ><

[62] Nina Godlewski.  What Company Owns Instagram?  Five Companies Owned by Facebook and How They Use Your Information.  Posted March 26, 2018 on  Online: ><

[63] mattallen1998.  The Structure of Alphabet and Google.  Posted February 11, 2019 on (Boston College Carroll School of Management, Tech Trek).  Online: ><

[64] Kevin B. Johnston.  Top 4 Companies Owned by Google.  Last updated June 3, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[65] Nathan Reiff.  Top 7 Companies Owned By Apple.  Last updated May 16, 2019 on  Online: ><

[66] Nathan Reiff.  Top 7 Companies Owned by Amazon.  Last updated May 18, 2019 on  Online: ><

[67] Chris Hughes. Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.  Posted May 9, 2019 on  Online: ><

[68] United States Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice-Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee, United States Senate. White Paper (DRAFT).  Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Companies.  Visited June 6, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[69] United States Senator Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]; United States Senator Fischer, Deb [R-NE], Co-sponsors.  S.1084 –Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act.  Introduced April 9, 2019 in the 116th Congress, 1st Session (2019-2020).  Visited June 19, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[70] Supra note 68 at p 1.

[71] Id. at page p 3.

[72] Id. at p 4.

[73] United States Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice-Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee, United States Senate. White Paper (DRAFT).  Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Companies, at pp 6-14.  Visited June 6, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[74] Id. at pp 14-19.

[75] Id. at pp 19-23.

[76] Id. at p 17.

[77] Press Release.  Office of Senator Mark R. Warner (Democrat, Virginia).  Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ban Manipulative ‘Dark Patterns’.  Posted April 9, 2019 on  Online:   > also Press Release.  Office of Senator Deb Fischer (Republican, Nebraska).  SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO BAN MANIPULATIVE ‘DARK PATTERNS’.  Posted April 9, 2019 on  Online: ><

[78] Nicole Lindsey.  New Senate Bill Targets Dark Patterns Used by Big Tech Giants.  Posted April 25, 2019 on  Online: ><

[79] Id.

[80] United States Senator Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]; United States Senator Fischer, Deb [R-NE], Co-sponsors.  S.1084 –Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act, at §2(3) Definitions: Compulsive Usage.  Introduced April 9, 2019 in the 116th Congress, 1st Session (2019-2020).  Visited June 19, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[81] Id. at §2(5) Definitions: Informed Consent.

[82] Id. at §3(b)(3)(A).

[83] Id. at §(3)(b).

[84] Id. at §2(6) Definitions: Large Online Operator.

[85] United States Senator Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]; United States Senator Fischer, Deb [R-NE], Co-sponsors.  S.1084 –Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act, at §2(4) Definitions: Independent Review Board; §3(b)(4)-(5).  Introduced April 9, 2019 in the 116th Congress, 1st Session (2019-2020).  Visited June 19, 2019 and posted on  Online: ><

[86] Ibid.

[87] Supra note 85 at §3(c).

[88] Id. at §3(d).

[89] For a very deep dive on the meaning and usage (in Europe) of dark patterns, see e.g. The Norwegian Consumer Council (ForbrukerRådet).  DECEIVED BY DESIGN: How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy.  Posted June 27, 2018 on  Online: ><

[90] Olivia Solon.  Google’s ad tracking is as creepy as Facebook’s. Here’s how to disable it.  Posted October 21, 2016 on  Online: > also John Brownlee.  Evidence.  After Lawsuit Settlement, LinkedIn’s Dishonest Design Is Now A $13 Million Problem.  Posted October 5, 2015 on  Online: ><

[91] Michal Addady.  Merchants Say Amazon Is Copying Their Products.  Posted April 20, 2016 on  Online: ><

[92] Foo Yun Chee.  Business News.  Apple in Dutch antitrust spotlight for allegedly promoting own apps.  Posted April 11, 2019 on  Online: > also Jack Nicas.  Google Uses Its Search Engine to Hawk Its Products.  Posted January 19, 2017 on  Online: > also Eugene Kim.  Amazon has been promoting its own products at the bottom of competitors’ listings.  Posted October 2, 2018 and Updated March 18, 2019 on  Online: > also Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols for Linux and Open Source.  MariaDB CEO accuses large cloud vendors of strip-mining open source.  Posted February 27, 2019 on  Online: ><  Quoting and paraphrasing Michael Howard, CEO of the database server open source collaboration, MariaDB.  “Howard doesn’t have much against AWS promoting its own brands. “”That’s just merchandising. They’re welcome to do that. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.  Right. But I’m not gonna I’m not going to be really super critical of that. Like, when you go into a pharmacy, they generally have sales on their own native things.’” But, if AWS’s going out of its way to make a rival service look inferior to its own, well, Howard’s not happy about that.” [Emphasis added].

[93] Mehvish.  Snapchat features borrowed by Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.  Posted April 5, 2017 on  Online: ><

[94] Chris Hughes.  Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.  Posted May 9, 2019 on  Online: ><  Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, speaks of Facebook’s sheer dominance and a fear of its incumbency, stymying competition and investment in those startups that might one day grow to compete with it (if allowed to even exist for more than an instant, before being bought-up or otherwise curtailed); and he says that this sequence of events replicates in other dominated fields, but not in those that are free of dominance.

[95] Michael Kwet.  Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move.  Posted June 14, 2019 on  Online: ><

[96] Dave Lee North America technology reporter.  Facebook may be ‘pivoting’ to something worse.  Posted July 2, 2019 on  Online: ><  This article decries the increasing prevalence of private Facebook “Groups” that are hard to monitor, harder to find, and that can feed on ever more disinformation and fake news in silos of isolation, potentially making members ever more radical and extreme.  But see contra.  The Canadian Press.  Some tech giants sign onto Canada’s declaration on electoral integrity.  Posted May 27, 2019 on  Online: ><  Facebook, Alphabet/Google, and Microsoft joined on a declaration to protect the integrity of this year’s (Q3/Q4 2019) pending Canadian federal elections.  See also contra Sara Carter.  Breaking: Twitter Confirms New Policy to ‘Hide Tweets’ but Claims It’s “In the Public Interest”.  Posted June 27, 2019 on  Online: > further Twitter Safety.  Defining public interest on Twitter.  Posted June 27, 2019 on  Online:  ><  Twitter also appears to have gotten the message to get serious about dealing with some of the online negativity spread by those most widely-followedInternet Influencers” of our times.  See also supra, note 47 and accompanying text (at 5 Principles).

[97] Chris Hughes. Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.  Posted May 9, 2019 on  Online:  ><  Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, speaks of how U.S. lawmakers were slow to move partly because they were in awe of Facebook and its colleagues in big tech, such as Amazon and Netflix, and partly because the American public did not see those lawmakers as “hip enough” to meet (or even understand) the modern task of technology regulation, let alone the tech. landscape.

“For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook’s explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive. (…).  After Mark’s congressional testimony last year, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes. Instead the legislators who questioned him were derided as too old and out of touch to understand how tech works.  That’s the impression Mark wanted Americans to have, because it means little will change.”

In addition to the European experiences and fines regarding big U.S. tech, and despite a home nation that champions freedom of speech and is really not at all in favor of generalized censorship, India and Saudi Arabia have now acted to restrict Netflix.  See e.g. India Today Web Desk.  SC issues notice to Centre to regulate Netflix, Amazon Prime content.  Posted May 10, 2019 on  Online: > also Emily Dreyfuss.  Culture.  Saudi Arabia Won’t Be the Last Country to Censor Netflix.  Posted January 3, 2019 on  Online: ><

[98] See supra, notes 48, 49, and 50 and accompanying text for some of these recent U.S. Regulator actions

[99] Chris Hughes. Opinion.  The Privacy Project.  It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.  Posted May 9, 2019 on  Online:  ><  Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, speaks on the potential benefits of innovation for the creative public, in competition for the consuming public, and for commerce itself, if Facebook were broken-up.

[100] Joe Williams.  Trump: US should sue Google for ‘trying to rig’ the 2020 elections.  Posted June 26, 2019 on  Online: ><

[101] Elizabeth Warren.  Here’s how we can break up Big Tech.  Posted March 8, 2019 on  Online: ><

[102] Id.; Supra, note 100.

[103] Zak Doffman.  U.S. Authorities Target Zuckerberg As Facebook ‘Buries’ Huge Instagram Password Breach.  Posted April 19, 2019 on  Online: ><  As it was revealed, Facebook had not properly revealed a breach, in the fact that its own employees had near unfettered access to (and did, serially so access), customer data, and the author cites to sources stating that “some 2,000 engineers or developers made approximately nine million internal queries for data elements that contained plain text user passwords.”  There is also no global law or remedy to control how privacy is to be managed or policed on dominant global platforms.

[104] Bill Thompson, Rhianne Jones.  BBC Research and Development.  Introducing the BBC Box.  Posted June 18, 2019 and last updated July 2, 2019 on  Online: ><

[105] Thomson Reuters.  Businesses Struggling with GDPR After One Year, Says Thomson Reuters Survey.  Posted May 22, 2019 on  Online:  ><

[106] RESERVED –

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