Facebook isn’t a tech company — let’s stop calling it that - CNN
Sometimes it takes an old guy to call out a youngster. Hatch knew that it was time for us to stop referring to Facebook as a tech company. As his spokesman reportedly noted later, Hatch was just using “a common tactic used in Congressional hearings to make a point.”
Facebook runs ads based on the information it has collected about you. And it has used the imprimatur of “technology” to shift our attention so it — as well as Google — can operate under a different set of rules than all the other media companies that run ads. By clinging to its definition of being a technology company, Facebook and other social media companies enjoy protections under the Communications Decency Act that immunize them from being held liable for hate and other objectionable speech, libel and falsehoods in news stories and advertising that media companies do not.
To be sure, Facebook utilizes technology, but that doesn’t make it a tech company any more than Exxon Mobil (because it uses instruments to find oil) or Burlington Northern (because it’s based on the invention of the steam engine)."
For media companies that run ads, especially ones that use public networks, we tell them that they can’t lie or mislead, that it’s not okay to advertise cigarettes to children or push prescription drugs without including the risks. We have laws governing deceptive advertisements and Truth in Advertising laws. Companies that run ads can’t say a car gets 40 miles per gallon unless it’s true. They can’t say a movie won an Academy Award unless it did. If you say the wool comes from New Zealand, it must.
Technology companies invent cars that drive themselves, satellites that can identify a license plate from miles away, phones that can guide us through traffic jams, and machines that see inside our bodies. That’s what tech companies do.
To be sure, Facebook utilizes technology, but that doesn’t make it a tech company any more than Exxon Mobil (because it uses instruments to find oil) or Burlington Northern (because it’s based on the invention of the steam engine).
Zuckerberg’s genius was harnessing an already existing network and previously developed computer code to allow people to share words and pictures with one another. In return, he runs ads.
When nearly half of Americans get their news from Facebook, its newsfeed should be subjected to the same standards of fairness, decency and accuracy as newspapers, television and other media outlets.
For decades, CBS sold beer during weekend football games and toys during Saturday morning cartoons. Long before the internet, folks figured out that by targeting the right audience, they could charge a higher price for running ads. Facebook just does it better.