At first, I fully recognize the right of a TV channel or newspaper to control its content. I can’t just walk into MSNBC or New York Times and make them publish what I want. They made a business on selling one type of content and some people choose to buy it, or at least consume it with advertisements. This is no different from what I do in the blog. Granted, NYT is bigger than my blog, but it’s bigger because more people watch it. If I’d have 1M visitors a day, I could monetize it and afford a staff to grow and finally compete with NYT. If I fail to, it’s simply because I’m not good enough.
So I say that NYT has the same rights as I do. If you are “censored” from NYT or my blog, just start your own and beat us on the free market.
The reason why Google is different is not that it’s “too big” or even “monopolist”. Monopolies were broken before without government action. The problem is that Google circumvent media laws and media market consequences by a shady – and I believe illegal – trick. You see both NYT and I am are responsible for the content we publish. If we publish copyrighted or slanderous material, we face criminal or civil lawsuit. Here is an example what happens if a media company publishes damaging fake news.
If we merely publish sloppy, worthless, hateful or not illegal but disgusting hit pieces, we both face market backslash. I wouldn’t have many followers left if someone would catch me that my “how to get to the top 0.5% in PUBG” post was a factual lie, I hired someone to play my account with normal strategy and “skillz”. Same if I’d be caught being paid by the Archeage team to write nice things about their game.
These are costs on business. We need to put resources into fact-checking and must pass on shady offers to post knowingly harmful things for money. Google is a clever scheme to avoid these same laws and business costs and gain unfair advantage against the rest of the media. What do I mean? NYT and Google both have authors who make posts. They both pay them money for doing so – assuming they are satisfied with their content. They both have editors/moderators who decide which post can go into publication and which can not, who gets paid and who gets reprimanded. So in reality, they are equal newspapers. However Google disguises its author staff as “users” to avoid any kind of liability if the content is subject to lawsuit or market backslash.
If NYT publishes a smear or abuses copyright, they can be sued. If Google publishes the very same content to the last bit all the victim can do is sending a takedown complaint and then maybe sue the author who is likely unable to pay anything even if he can be located (good luck suing someone with the only contact information is email@example.com). This is completed by the search engine that acts as a table of contents and guarantees that their content always reaches the audience, regardless of takedown. If the libel or copyright infringement of firstname.lastname@example.org is taken down, an hour later email@example.com will post the same thing and people find it instantly because it’s topped on Google search.
Neither the NYT, nor me can defeat Google because they cheat. We are bound by the libel and copyright laws and they are dodging it. I believe a lawsuit should be ran against them claiming that they are responsible for all libel and copyright infringement happening on Youtube or Blogger or whatever site they own, because if the author is paid, disciplined or fired at pleasure of the company, he is an “employee” or “contractor” and not a “user”. If Google claims that “we are just a tech company carrying signal” then make them do that instead of exercising editorial control over the content.