De-FAANGing The Edge

WASHINGTON — A couple of grassroots groups — or “astroturf roots” groups, depending on whom you ask — have sprung up to capitalize on Washington’s current disaffection and skepticism toward edge providers.

The new groups have targeted the “F” and “G” in the FAANG group of behemoth edge providers (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google).

Freedom from Facebook describes itself as a diverse group of organizations that share “deep concerns” about the social media network. They want the Federal Trade Commission to break up the Facebook “monopoly,” which means forcing it to divest WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Members include the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 workers, including in broadcast, cable and news media, joined by MoveOn and Demand Progress, and the Content Creators Coalition.

Taking on the search giant with an ongoing barrage of emailed jabs and punches has been TWIGA (This Week in Google Antitrust) — a dozen such emailed attacks since the beginning of December, for example.

TWIGA bills itself as “the leading news clipping service covering Google antitrust news,” but its attitude toward that news is clear from the email subject lines it creates for the news it aggregates: “Google Hiding Billions in Bermuda Tax Haven,” “Senate Russian Investigation Report Says Google Was The Worst of Big Tech” and “Google Tries to Bury Foreign Disinformation Campaign News.”

Neither Google nor Facebook responded to a request for comment on the groups or their mission.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.