Libertarian Internet pioneer Peter Thiel is not the only one concerned about the danger to freedom from tech monopolies like Google.
Critics of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s new investigation of the potential restraint of trade from Google’s monopolistic 85 percent market share of Internet search are trying to blame Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel’s political donations as the motivation for the potential break-up of Google.
Thiel did donate $100,000 in 2015 and $200,000 in 2016 to Hawley’s successful campaign for Missouri Attorney General. He is believed to be supporting Republican Hawley in his campaign for the U.S. Senate, and he also called Google a monopoly during his backing of Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against the now bankrupt and liquidated Gawker.
But rather than being a Republican political pol wanting to get even for Google’s blatant political backing of Hillary Clinton, Thiel argued in a 2009 essay that he had founded PayPal as a pragmatic libertarian interested in “the creation of a new world currency, free from all government control and dilution — the end of monetary sovereignty, as it were.”
The decade-old article, published by the Cato Institute under the title, ‘The Education of a Libertarian,” argued that a race had begun and that the “future will be much better or much worse.” Thiel warned that due to the marriage of politics and technology, “authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good” would be equally vulnerable from politically imposed “confiscatory taxes” as technology imposed a “collective totalitarian” monopoly.
There were many established search engines in 1995, when Google founders Larry Page began and Sergey Brin began their research project exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web as Stanford University Ph.D. students. They created a math-based formula (algorithm) that acted as a huge graph to the credibility of Internet posts by measuring how many web pages articles linked back to a given page.
The original researchers’ algorithm was wildly successful in gaining search market share, because it was the most efficient and unbiased way to search the web. But Google altered its algorithm to maximize profits by selling bias to advertisers for higher search results.
Thiel is just one of many concerned about Google. Breitbart News reported that the European Union Commission began investigating Google Shopping in 2014 for its online search tool displaying paid advertisers in a box that floated above the highest search-linked result. With 90 percent market share, the European Commission fined Google $2.7 billion in June for illegal and anti-competitive preferential treatment of its own content.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, currently on the cover of Rolling Stone, cautioned in the accompanying article that Google, Facebook, and Amazon “have more information about you than you can remember.” He added regarding monopoly risk: “There’s a lot of risk in concentration of power. So if AGI [artificial general intelligence] represents an extreme level of power, should that be controlled by a few people at Google with no oversight?”
The New York Times also piled on Google, Facebook and Amazon this week with an editorial titled: “Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend.” Author Noam Cohen stated that the three tech giants were once constructive forces in society, but for consumers the negatives are now starting to outweigh the positives.