A week ago I wrote the following in our related publication, Tech Insider,
‘…‘Google To Ban All Crypto-Related Ads Starting June 2018.’
‘Once I’d picked up my jaw off the ground I felt like I wanted to punch anyone that worked at Google.
‘Let me be very clear, I’m of the firm belief that if you give people the responsibility to look after their own interests, everyone will more or less figure out things for themselves.
‘I’m all for consumer protection against blatant scam and fraud. I’m all for helping people who need and ask for help. I’m all about educating people to take on responsibility for their own lives and their own actions.
‘But I’m against a select, elite few making wide reaching decisions that impact the masses. Google banning crypto related advertising through their AdWords platform is just the latest form of Google Totalitarianism.
‘We (yes me included) have allowed the likes of Google to penetrate our lives to such an extent that they have almost ultimate control over us. Imagine if Google shut down their search function tomorrow.
‘Lets say the only thing they let you search for was Google brands and products. Or Google-curated information. Imagine if Google was in your home, listening to you, learning everything about you, predicting your movements and actions…
‘Hang on a second.
‘Whether we like it or not the rise of centralised tech companies like Google is a result of our own doing. We use their ‘free services’ and end up paying for it in other ways, like the proliferation of our data.
‘That’s valuable to companies like Google who then use that data as the see fit. However there’s a growing realisation in society that your personal data is useful and valuable.
‘And it’s this idea of attaching tangible value to data that’s helping to drive a resistance against centralised control like Google.’
Let’s remember what Google really is, a data consumer. Yes, they provide a valuable service. Search does an incredible job of organising the internet — the surface internet that is.
And to be honest, if they charged for that service then I’d probably pay for it. But they don’t charge for it. Well, they don’t charge us money.
They charge us in data. We pay Google. We pay them loads. And we pay them in their currency of choice. They can’t get enough of our data. And we give it to them for free.
However, we really have no idea exactly what they use that data for.
We do the same thing with Facebook. Pretty sure last time you logged into Facebook they didn’t debit your account. That’s because Facebook doesn’t want billions of users to pay them in money.
They have another currency of choice.
Sure, Facebook and Google both make plenty of cash. But they do it through advertisers, because the other thing both Facebook and Google have is immense network effect.
However, there’s a problem with them both. Their power is concentrated and centralised. That means that the decisions on how your data gets used is solely up to a few executives and founders.
It’s why Facebook is now embroiled in scandal. And this scandal may end up being one of the biggest we’ve ever seen. Will it kill Facebook? Can the world’s seventh most valuable company by market cap die at all?
Or is the question a little different? Should we kill off Facebook altogether? And if so…how?
Immense thirst for data
The scandal exists because harvesting of millions of Facebook users data by Cambridge Analytica. As reported by The Guardian,
‘[Cambridge Analytica] The company at the centre of the Facebook data breach boasted of using honey traps, fake news campaigns and operations with ex-spies to swing election campaigns around the world, a new investigation reveals.’
The problem is Facebook allowed access. They let this happen. And if there was a tangible impact from Cambridge Analytica on the outcomes of elections, then we truly are living in a new world. The methods by which politicians understand and control the state, and our lives, have been revolutionised.
But again, this problem isn’t necessarily the fault of Facebook. Their platform or their network. The problem is the centralised authorities that allow these things to happen.
The problem is the immense thirst for data from major corporations. The problem is that centralised, concentrated power is abused by the few that have it. This is why the potential of decentralised networks, crypto networks, is so strong.
Your data is your property. It’s also your currency. It is perhaps one of the most powerful things you create. But not enough people recognise the inherent power they have.
We know people don’t understand the power of data, because of their willingness to give it away for free. Admittedly, we’ve all been guilty of this over the last couple of decades as the likes of Facebook and Google and risen to power.
The killer blow
The tide is shifting. These scandals put the actions of centralised power in the spotlight. It lets people know how these companies abuse their power.
It also teaches people that personal data has value. It is a currency. And it’s possible to get something for it…if you want to.
For now the reach, scope and power of Facebook and Google probably won’t change all that much.
But they will change. There wasn’t an alternative before. Now there is. Through the growth of decentralised, distributed networks we will see the growth of the next Facebook and Google.
These will be networks with immense reach, that won’t be controlled by a select few. The users — the network — will decide on what is right and wrong, and what value is attached to currency like data.
This is a world that crypto will build. It’s already started, and it’s only growing stronger and more relevant. The time is right, the mood is right, and the opportunity is right.
Change can happen swiftly in the right environment. This is the right environment. And we think the shift to crypto networks will happen faster than the spread and influence of the internet over the last 30 years.
Sir Tim Berners Lee put out a series of tweets in relation to the Facebook scandal. I recommend checking out the full thread. But one tweet in particular sums it all up perfectly. He said,
‘My message to all web users today is this: I may have invented the web, but you make it what it is. And it’s up to all of us to build a web that reflects our hopes & fulfils our dreams more than it magnifies our fears & deepens our divisions.’
Our view is that this better web will be built through decentralised crypto networks. They’re rebuilding the internet in the way it should be. And it’s going to change everything.
Editor, Australian Small-Cap Investigator