Can and should governments use regulation to control the FAANGs? [Year 12 and Year 13 Enrichment Task]
Since lockdown started in March, technology has become even more important in our lives. We use it for education, for business, for our shopping, and for our social connections. Those who don't have easy access to technology, either because they don't have the hardware or lack a good broadband connection, are increasingly disadvantaged in all of those areas.
This inevitably raises the importance and influence of the network providers - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, known as the FAANGs, have become indispensable. Concerns about whether those Big Tech firms should be subject to more government control go back well before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as the world starts to emerge, those worries may well become more intense.
So this week's enrichment task poses three questions:
1. Could government use regulations to control the activities of the FAANGs?
2. How would those regulations work, and how effective would they be?
3. Should governments do so, or, in the long run, will market forces ensure that monopolies cannot abuse their power and will not last?
You will, of course, need to make much use of the internet, and Google-ing, to research this one! The document below contains several sources which you can use as a start for this.
STOP PRESS: Wednesday 1st July -
Google and Facebook too powerful, says watchdog - "The UK needs tougher rules to curb the dominance of Google and Facebook, including powers to break them up, the Competition and Markets Authority has said. It is concerned that the firms' dominance in digital advertising raises barriers for new competitors. This may be pushing up prices for consumers, the CMA said." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53252750