The book Move Fast and Break Things criticises Google, Facebook and Amazon sharply, but is at the same time partly romantic and crude.
Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy
It should have been so good, but it all went so bad. The story about the roots of the internet often starts with the somewhat odd rendezvous between the interests of the military and a counterculture wanting easier access to more free information. Technological victories combined with governmental support and contributions from innovative parts of hippie culture constituted the foundation for what we call the internet. But something went wrong along the way. Somehow we did not get that easy access in a decentralised form. Instead we got a few companies who centralise most of it – close to a monopoly situation guided by the libertarian philosophy of Ayn Rand. In the book Move Fast and Break Things, Jonathan Taplin intends to find out what went so terribly wrong.
Taplin has a very interesting and motley past as manager for Bob Dylan, film producer (Mean Streets, Wim Wender’s film Until the End of the World, and others) and media innovator. Thus he is a person deeply involved in the creative process of making pieces of art. There is, by the way, no doubt that Taplin in many ways is leading a personal retaliation action against the internet-mastodons. His main point is that the big companies – Google, Facebook and Amazon – have made disastrous conditions for content providers, from musicians to filmmakers to journalists and authors. In Taplin’s opinion, art is subject to a colossal pressure in the era of monopoly-internet.
«There is no doubt that Taplin in many ways is leading a personal retaliation action against the internet-mastodons.»
Firstly, a few companies have enormous market shares in their industry. For example Amazon covers 70 per cent of the e-book market, while Facebook has 77 per cent of the market for mobile social media. Consequently, content providers are forced to cooperate with the mastodons in order to make their way.
Secondly, these enormous market shares paired with clever lobbying bring about such political power that the giga-companies escape the kind of law making that regulates business. According to Taplin, the state acts differently towards the internet-mastodons compared to all other industries.