By Justin Sanders

In June, we checked in on some of the commentary surrounding the endlessly-burning hair pile that is the technology industry at the moment – offering “14 Brilliant Comments on the Importance of Platform Responsibility in Big Tech.”

Since then, Facebook has continued to be dodgy about where its user data has gone and how it’s being used, Google has been taken to task by Congress for failing to be transparent about its data practices, and California passed a landmark data-privacy bill that could reverberate across the country. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a government agency tasked primarily with overseeing the US securities market, has also joined the fight – opening a new investigation in to Facebook’s business practices.

However, as long as we have a regulatory structure that shields Google and Facebook from liability for virtually all behavior on their platforms, we need to keep demanding reform.

To that end, here are 14 more reasons why we need platform responsibility, culled from brilliant minds across the political spectrum.


1.) Because the Inventor of the World Wide Web Himself Thinks We Should

“We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places… [The increasing centralization of the Web has] ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”

Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web

2.) Because the Failure of Big Tech Platforms is on a Scale They Can No Longer Control

“It’s disconcerting that four months after [the Cambridge Analytica] scandal became public, Facebook still has no idea how many others have its users’ data and how that data is being used today.”

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee

3.) Because if They Aren’t Saying Bulls**t Stuff Like This…

“We’re not a truth engine. One of the big issues that we’re pondering is how to explain that our role is to get you authoritative, good information, but that ultimately people have to process that information themselves… We can give you information, but we can’t tell you the truth of a thing.”

Danny Sullivan, Google Search Liaison


4.) …Then They’re Just Outright Lying to Us, Like This:

“In June 2017, Google announced changes to Gmail that would halt scanning the contents of a user’s email to personalize advertisements to ‘keep privacy and security paramount.’ Last week, reports surfaced that in spite of this policy change, Google still permitted third parties to access the contents of users’ emails, including message text, email signatures, and receipt data, to personalize content. In the context of free services offered by third parties, these practices raise questions about how representations made by a platform are carried out in practice.”

Letter from the Republican leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to Alphabet CEO Larry Page


5.) Because They Are Monopolies, Part 1

“We need to shift the way we think about the dominant tech platforms — and especially Google — which have steadily grown, within most American adults’ living memory, from scrappy startups into forces dominating the economy. Our public debates about these issues need to accelerate, too, moving at the speed of technological change, rather than the speed of past precedent. Bewailing the power of tech platforms is not enough; the United States needs to develop regulatory and, yes, antitrust strategies for each of them.”

– Editorial Board, The Boston Globe


6.) Because They Are Monopolies, Part 2

“The tech giants, which have largely been allowed to grow unfettered since the Microsoft lawsuit, often argue that a competing option is just a click away. But that reasoning looks increasingly specious in an era when Google functions as a verb, Facebook owns two of the biggest social networks, and Amazon is powering a huge portion of the internet.”

– Victor Luckerson, Author of “Monopoly Money: How to Break Up the Biggest Companies in Tech” on The Ringer


7.) Because They Are Monopolies, Part 3

“There’s no question that a series of acquisitions by just a few powerful technology companies has contributed to the centralization of information online — including the pathways for working Americans to access trustworthy news, commerce, and content… Democrats are committed to restoring competition and aggressively cracking down on market power and economic concentration.”

Rep. David N. Cicilline (R.I.), the top Democrat serving on the House’s antitrust-focused subcommittee

8.) Because the Supreme Court Just Said We Can Take Our Concern About Monopolies and Shove It

“[Ohio v. American Express is] the most significant antitrust opinion by the [Supreme] Court in more than a decade… In it, the Court dealt a huge blow to the ability of government and private plaintiffs to enforce existing antitrust laws, making it easier for dominant firms — especially those in the tech sector — to abuse their market power with impunity.”

Lina Khan, Director of Legal Policy, Open Markets Institute

9.) Because Howard Dean Thinks They Are Immoral

“What Facebook did will likely result in imprisonment or other punishment of Chinese young people. Facebook is amoral. It’s all about the money for them. My Facebook page is now closed. You can reach me on Twitter.”

Howard Dean, former Vermont Governor

10.) Because the Government Must Not be Swayed by Their Big-Money Lobbyists Anymore

“I don’t care if [Big Tech companies] don’t give me another penny… It’s not my job to look out for their profit margin.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

11.) Because Though They are Doing a Few Things Right, this Problem Isn’t Going Anywhere

“I give [Google] some credit for taking a first step… And a thousand steps from here, we’ll have this thing under control.”

Roger McNamee, on Google’s announcement of tools that will limit users’ time spent on smartphones

12.) Because Social Media is a Super-Computer-Assassin, and Our Brains are the Target

“We’ve always had persuasion, we’ve always had advertising, and we’ve always had propaganda, but the scale and personalization make this really a new situation… We have super computers pointed at people’s brains, at teenager’s brains, playing chess against their minds, saying, what’s the perfect thing I can show you.”

Tristan Harris, Co-Founder, Center for Human Technology and former Google Product Manager

13.) Because Their Ad-Driven Free Model Can’t Exist Without Mass User Manipulation

“The current incentive structure is that any time two people have any contact, it’s financed by a third person who believes they can manipulate the first two. There’s never before been a society in which everybody is under constant observation, constant surveillance and in which they’re constantly receiving this stream of experience that is being dynamically adjusted to find ways of manipulating them… It’s like a labyrinth of deception.”

Jaron Lanier, Author of Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

14.) Because One Day, Long from Now, We Want to be Able to…

“…Look my kids in the eye and say I tried to make the world a better place.”

– Alastair Mactaggart, San Francisco real estate developer who spearheaded California’s landmark data-privacy bill


As more and more important voices speak up about the need to stop the harms inflicted by Big Tech, CreativeFuture will work with you to amplify these voices and get more Americans to pay attention.

Sign our petition and help us tell Washington that it’s time for platform responsibility!

We must stand together, we must #StandCreative.