Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web and Tony Blair, the disgraced former Labour Prime Minister have both hit out at big tech this week (by which we generally mean Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple).
Both suggested that more regulation was needed in order to curb the monopoly powers of the ‘big four’ and to encourage innovation and new ideas in tech.
Facebook, for example, dominates instant messaging in most of the world – as it owns both Messenger and WhatsApp.
72 per cent of adults use Facebook’s social networking site, 42 per cent use WhatsApp and 23 per cent use Instagram.
Meanwhile, Google owns search, with 82 per cent of all users relying on it. It also owns Android, which has over half of the share of the UK mobile market. Plus, Google-owned YouTube is used by 42 per cent of all UK adults.
In addition to Berners-Lee’s calls for more regulation to encourage proper competition in the tech market, former prime minister Tony Blair has told Wired Magazine this month that there is an urgent need for a new regulatory system to hold Facebook, Google, Amazon and other big tech to account.
“We’ve got a regulatory system designed for one age and we’re living in a different age altogether,” Blair says. “The government has to be engaged with this in a completely different way. It doesn’t understand the technology revolution, and doesn’t have the bandwidth to consider it.
“We need to rethink how companies operate, how businesses operate. There are going to be massive changes in the workplace. People are going to work differently and want to work differently, and you need a system of regulation to deal with that.
“Is what’s happening with tech revolutionary? I think it is. Does the scale of the policy response match the revolution? No, it doesn’t.”