In 2019, the push to break up Big Tech has gained traction. Many fear that giants like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have gotten too large, prevent smaller competitors from gaining traction, or have too much power, leading some to believe that splitting up these tech leaders is the smart move.
However, not all feel that breaking up Big Tech is the best move. While many support investigating the practices of these companies – some of which have come under scrutiny over privacy concerns and possible anti-trust law issues – at least one expert thinks that there is another option on the table for managing Big Tech: make them share data.
Facebook made headlines in recent years for how advertisers could control who saw their ads. The use of “Ethnic Affinities” essentially allowed companies to avoid targeting users who fell into certain racial categories, effectively providing a mechanism for discrimination. The tech giant was even targeted by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for violating the Fair Housing Act by providing ad targeting mechanisms that allowed companies to prevent minorities from seeing the housing-related ads.
While the feature was slated for removal in 2018, a recently released research paper shows that ad targeting in Facebook could still be discriminatory, even if the advertiser was trying to get their ads displayed to a wide audience.