Tim Wu: "We must break up the empires of the online world”

Tim Wu, one of the most prominent commentators of the US tech-industry, recently critises the growing power of Facebook, Amazon, Google & Co. in the "SonntagsZeitung". In an opinion piece in "The New York Times" he reinforced his point. On 13 March 2019 the media superstar will talk at GDI.

Tim Wu

A large part of the US population wants higher taxes for the rich, weaker monopolies and stricter data protection laws. This is what bestselling author (“Attention Merchants”) and professor of Law Tim Wu wrote in the “New York Times”, yesterday. The problem was not the much quoted polarisation of society, but that a large majority of the population did not get what they wanted. The US Congress, in particular, is preventing popular laws from being passed. This is due to the influence of industry groups and donor interests.

In an interview with the "SonntagsZeitung" last weekend, Wu criticised the excessive influence of companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, as well: "Attention and data are the most valuable resources of the future. That's why the business model of Facebook, Google, Amazon and others is to suck as much out of us as possible. That's why they built their products to be addictive."

In order to curb the power of the Internet companies, Wu proposes a break up. "In the US, we have many industries dominated by monopolies: television and cable networks, aviation, hospitals, insurance, banking. These few companies are increasingly leading the country, while its people are losing control over their lives and decisions. We must break up the empires of the online world and install many instead – in other words, become federalist like Switzerland."

On 13 March 2019, law professor and bestselling author Tim Wu will speak at the GDI Trend Day about how corporations are “stealing” our attention. Get the last tickets now!