'Economist': Regulating Tech Companies Debated Online

In the third day of an eight-day online debate on whether tech giants should be more heavily regulated, the online audience's stomach for such regulation has been growing.

Currently, 76% of that audience favors more regs, according to The Economist (which is sponsoring the debate), up from 72% on day one of the arguments. The no votes have dropped from 28% to 24%.

Keen for more regs is Andrew Keen, executive director of Silicon Valley "innovation salon" Futurecast, who is arguing not just for heavier regs, but really hefty ones.

"There is nothing magical, nothing at all inexplicable, about the growing economic might of tech giants," Keen said. "This is the very down-to-earth consequence of a winner-take-all digital marketplace in which large companies are becoming dangerous leviathans.

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Arguing against more heavily regulating companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google is Larry Downes, project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.

"Yes, we’re angry and disappointed that third parties and in some cases the tech giants themselves have abused our trust and made some truly terrible business decisions," Downes said. "But that is no basis for a remedy, let alone one that may cost us more and do even greater harm.

The debate is sponsored by The Economist, with senior editor Kenneth Cukier moderating. Click here to check it out.

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.