False. Free and paid services alike suck up user data and prioritize user growth—the WSJ included. The only difference is some can’t keep their paid users logged in no matter what. https://t.co/tAW76Hx69z
One key point about the free and/or zero marginal cost "products" that I think economists haven't yet dealt with is: massive imbalances between revenue generated by a product and the cost of producing it.
Facebook is the cleanest example. Compare to BMW. If we cut BMW's annual budget by 50%, we'd get about 50% fewer cars. If we do the same to FB, we'd get approximately the same FB.
FB's revenue happens to be about $65bn per annum. But, the cost of making Facebook available to all its users is basically arbitrary. If Facebook had happened to produce just $6.5bn, I expect that the value/features users get would have been about the same.
A lot of the investment (eg uber) in such products goes towards pure (kinda zero-sum) competition. IE, a big chunk of the investment in Uber wasn't needed (or beneficial) for consumers to get the benefit of Uber. It was just needed to ensure Uber captured market share.
This has potentially worrying implications for economic efficiency.
What is the cost of privacy? How much would you pay to have total control of your data? Because that’s the price of Facebook / Google.
At least with Google, you can get some modicum if privacy and improved security by paying for G-Suite on a private domain (you have way more control of your data policy that way). But it doesn’t change the fact that >90% of their revenue and nearly all their profit comes from advertising.
Facebook is pure cancer, and should die in a fire.
What dollar value do you assign to misinformation that undermined the national discourse around the 2016 U.S. election...
It has been priceless for "both" the "major" parties, that such a baseless falsehood as RussiaRussiaRussia has allowed them to avoid any scrutiny of how their chosen candidates could have been beaten by a reality-TV buffoon. After enough arm-twisting, FB finally allowed that, sure, whatever, Russia bought a couple thousand dollars worth of ads. Thanks Facebook!
Free is too expensive ... and other such excuses from people who are really just clamouring for power to be shifted back to old media.
Honestly that’s all I hear. A disrupted and outdated locus of power arguing for circumstances that would (lo and behold) return them to a position of power and prominence as a more effective political power broker between politicians and the public.
The media doesn’t ever argue that the media needs a check and balance against its power.
That’s fine, nobody ever does, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t need one, or that they never abused their power.
> What dollar value do you assign to misinformation that undermined the national discourse around the 2016 U.S. election, and how do you count that versus the convenience of sharing with friends and family, or watching fun videos?
CNN fixed the Democratic primaries against Sanders, and old-media barely made any noise about that . Come on, pretending that the old media is the defender of democracy is a self-serving sales pitch, not a self-evident truth.
> What’s more, their success has given them the power to block upstarts that might have competed against them with different approaches.
The same could have been said of old media. The barriers to entry in broadcast or print are massive, compared to internet based news. Spectrum auctions, capital costs, news boxes. Can’t it be argued that Facebook has eliminated all of those for a new upstart trying to reach an audience?
Sorry I can’t hear their “concern for society’s health” over the echoing ring of decades of media monopolies.