Sen. Al Franken makes his thoughts known on Google, Facebook, and Amazon

Google / Tech
Al Franken

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that these corporations do not endanger our national security, our democracy or our fundamental freedoms.”

Senator Al Franken is being vocal once again. Love him or hate him, he certainly isn’t afraid to vocalize his thoughts. This time Senator Al Franken is taking aim at tech giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Franken is taking issue with these companies algorithms which he says are “sophisticated, strategic tool[s] to maintain and strengthen their own power.” Franken said the aforementioned companies have the ability to “decide for us what we should read, watch, buy or even how we should engage in civil society, and they’re doing it all under the shadow of complicated algorithms.”

Franken goes on to say that Google and Facebook pose a threat to publishers by cornering advertising dollars which gives them “tremendous power” over the media.

To that end, Sen. Al Franken said he hoped that recent developments — including reports that Russia spread disinformation on social media during the 2016 presidential election —would prompt regulators to take a closer look at the tech industry.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that these corporations do not endanger our national security, our democracy or our fundamental freedoms,” he said.

With Facebook, for example, Franken said the company had wrongly blamed its algorithms — a “convenient excuse,” in his eyes — for harmful content on its platform, including advertising categories that targeted users based on race. ProPublica previously reported that potential advertisers could target users with terms like “Jew hater.”

This isn’t the first time Senator Al Franken has chimed in about the state of tech companies. In general, I think he doesn’t hold any company in high regard if they appear to be a monopoly or have tendencies to lean that way.

Meanwhile, Franken took aim at Google for allowing “illegal activity” to flourish in search results. “Google has previously said that its algorithms necessarily include websites dedicated to illegal activity in search results, such as pirate sites, even as in other instances it maintains that its results do reflect Google’s judgment,” he said.

We’ll see what becomes of all this or if it just blows over like many political rants do, thanks to lobbyists, but I digress.

What do you think of Al Franken’s latest thoughts? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Recode
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