Federal Government The campaign for internet platform improvement has increased dramatically this week. The Surgeon General cited disinformation due to public health risk. The White House press secretary asked Facebook to remove 12 accounts that could be responsible for up to 65 percent of the cowardly disinformation on the site. “They’re killing people,” President Biden said, referring to Facebook, “just to walk away a day later.” He then hired Jonathan Carter, the architect of the EU antitrust case against Google, to run the Justice Department’s antitrust department. The table can be set for the necessary upgrades.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter have become the main communication platforms in our society, but they are massively injuring public health, democracy, privacy and competition with disastrous consequences. Most Americans understand this, but don’t be inconvenienced by losing what they like about internet platforms. And they struggle to understand the scope of the problem. These platforms have successfully put mud in the water, using their vast wealth of academics, think tanks and NGOs as well as many politicians.

It’s easy to see why platforms are fighting so hard to resist reform. Covid disinformation, obsession with democracy, invasion of privacy and hostile behavior are not mistakes. They are examples of commercial models of internet platforms that are well designed. The problem is that platforms like Google and Facebook are too big to be safe.

At their current scale, with almost twice as many active users as people in China, platforms like Google and Facebook are a systemic threat corresponding to climate change or epidemics. Improving them will be a challenge in the best of circumstances. But, today the courts avoid economic power and Congress remains paralyzed, leaving the administration as our best hope. Forty years of regulation and reduced funding have resulted in our regulatory structure having fewer tools and less muscle. Fortunately, the National Economic Council has appointed former FTC advisor Tim Woo, anti-trust scholar Leena Khan as FTC chairman, FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to lead the Consumer Money Protection Bureau, former president of Commodity Futures Trading Commission That those leaders understand these issues and will make the most of the limited tools in their control. The payoff for getting this right will be huge.

The first challenge facing the President and his team is to properly address the issue. The attitude of policy makers to date is to view the damage caused by Internet platforms not as a system, but as a series of coincidence issues. With limited resources and time, the administration must find high profit opportunities.

Internet platforms are media companies, which are based on the attention of consumers, but traditional media have their huge advantages. They have unprecedented scale and performance. It is a surveillance engine that collects data about users. They complement that by receiving location data from a cell phone; Health data of prescriptions, medical tests and applications; Web browsing history and the like. With all of this, the platform data creates voodoo fingers that enable them to make predictions of user behavior that can be sold to advertisers and power manipulative recommendation engines. Platforms can use this power to make users happier, healthier or more successful, but instead they use data to use each user’s emotional triggers because it’s easier to do and generate more revenue and profit.

The last five years have proved that Internet platforms cannot persuade themselves to improve. They do not believe they are responsible for the damage caused by their products. They believe this loss is a fair price for their success. That’s why Facebook didn’t do anything meaningful after learning it was used to interfere in Brexit and the 2016 presidential election. Why the company was solved after the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the terrorist attack with a living dream in Christchurch. Why QAnon ignores the warnings used to radicalize users and organize and execute rebellions. And why Mark Zuckerberg and his team pretend not to be responsible for spreading cowardly disinformation. Since 2016, politicians, civil society groups and activists like me have been trying to persuade Facebook to change its business practices in the public interest, and officials have consistently selected the company across the country.