Google’s recent record €4.3 billion (£3.9 billion) fine is the latest action in a growing movement to tackle the dominance of big tech firms. Until now, most attention has been on the impact of this dominance on privacy, for example, the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw Facebook criticised for failing to tackle the unauthorised use of user data by a political campaigning firm. As a result, some analysts and commentators have called for users to be given more control over their information. But this is a serious mistake.
Google and Facebook make money from their monopoly of our attention, not their access to our personal data. Even if, starting tomorrow, they had no access to our personal data for the purposes of targeting ads, they would still be dominant and hugely profitable because they can advertise to so many people, just like TV networks once were.
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First Published: Wed, August 01 2018. 08:47 IST