Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
America Online Facebook Government Social Networks The Internet United States Technology

Regulate Facebook Like AIM (vice.com) 105

New submitter gooddogsgotoheaven shares a report from Motherboard arguing why the U.S. government should regulate Facebook like AIM: Sixteen years ago, the FCC approved a merger between American Online and Time Warner, but with several conditions. As part of the deal, AOL was required to make its web portal compatible with other chat apps. The government stopped AOL from building a closed system where everyone had to use AIM, meaning it had to adopt interoperability -- the ability to be compatible with other computer systems. The FCC required AOL to be compatible with at least one instant messaging rival immediately after the merger went through. Within six months, the FCC required AOL to make its portal compatible with at least two other rivals, or face penalties. The FCC's decision changed how we communicate with each other on the internet. By forcing AIM to make room for competition, a range of messaging apps and services, as well as social networks emerged. Instead of being limited to AIM, people who used AOL's portal could choose other platforms.

If Facebook were forced to make room for other services on its platform in the same way AOL made room for other chat apps, new services could emerge. "Facebook has to allow people to access their relationships however they want through other businesses or tools that are not controlled by Facebook," Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, said. "Having them control and mediate the structure of those relationships -- that's not right." Of course, people can opt out of Facebook and choose to use other, smaller social networks. But those businesses are essentially unable to thrive because of the hold Facebook has on how we communicate online. All our friends and family are already on Facebook, and because the platform is not regulated to allow competition, it's incredibly difficult for other, newer ones to emerge.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Regulate Facebook Like AIM

Comments Filter:
  • because Mark Zuck will be the President in 2020 !!

    • The educational requirements to run for president are the same as most fast food places, none. I guess an honorary degree will be fine.

  • Any new regulations issued by the FCC under the current leadership will be heavily weighted in favor of the corporations, not the people.

  • Better option.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sqorbit ( 3387991 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @04:54PM (#55324641)
    I'd much rather the consumers stop using closed systems, and/or demanding interoperability than the government regulating it. I know this is a fantasy. It would be nice if the consumers had higher expectations of companies like AOL and Facebook. I'll get off my soap box now and go back to my coach with my beer..and get off my lawn.
    • It would be nice if the consumers had higher expectations of companies like AOL and Facebook.

      It would be nice if consumers hadn't been schooled and otherwise propagandized over the past hundred years or so into uncritical, knee-jerk acceptance of corporate philosophies, political power, and cultural dominance.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The problem is that a unilateral policy of interoperability is terrible. You can look back at Windows vs OS/2, if you can run OS/2 applications under Windows but not Windows application under OS/2 then 99% of consumers will pick Windows. That's the true killer of open standards, we'll do everything the standard says and then more. For example, I work a lot with Microsoft SQL Server. I wish there was a comprehensive enough standard that I could just migrate it to MySQL or PostgreSQL or Oracle or DB2 or whate

      • if you can run OS/2 applications under Windows but not Windows application under OS/2 then 99% of consumers will pick Windows.

        So why have people chosen Windows over GNU/Linux? Many Windows applications work in Wine, but GNU/Linux applications didn't work in Windows until very recently (WSL for Windows 10), and GUI applications for GNU/Linux still don't.

        • by Motard ( 1553251 )

          Many Windows applications work in Wine

          Not good enough.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            What is good enough? If anything short of "all" is not good enough, then Windows market share ought to be quoted separately by version as well, as Windows 10's compatibility with applications designed for Windows XP is not perfect either.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          Is there no ports of stuff like QT for Windows?

          • Qt, GTK, SDL, and other libraries are ported to Windows.

            But building and testing a Windows application built with one of these libraries still requires the program's maintainer to have a valid Windows license for the environment on which to run the tests. Technically, the building part doesn't, as GCC can be built on GNU/Linux as a cross-compiler to target Windows [mxe.cc], but testing still does. And no, the OEM license that came with the Windows PC that you bought, wiped, and Linuxed doesn't count, as OEM Windows

            • by dryeo ( 100693 )

              Good point. I do notice on some developer lists the main developer will put up a release candidate that he built on Linux for Windows and ask for testing and other times ask for help with Windows. These are usually text mode programs but I'd think that it could work the same for graphical programs if there is a demand.
              Of course demand is the question. There's lots of native windows programs and for people who don't care about propriety software...

      • Re:Better option.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @09:03PM (#55325657)

        The problem was the opposite. Remember that only NT could run OS/2 programs, and only 16 bit text programs out of the box.
        The problem was that OS/2 ran Win3.x programs as well or better then MS Win 3.1, so developers targeted Win 3.x so their programs would run on both OS/2 and MS Windows. OS/2 ended up with a lack of native programs, combined with MS breaking the WinOS2 support often enough that MS Windows was a better choice.
        There was also the problem that OS/2 needed more memory at a time when memory was very expensive.
        Written on a computer running the latest OS/2 (ArcaOS).

    • Agreed. I'd love it if Facebook had open data APIs where you could get your own data and relationships on and off of it, but I don't want the government stepping in to force them to do it.

      As for AIM, the latest news is that after 20 years, it's now shutting down completely [fortune.com]. So how did that work out for them in the long run?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Upd Late ( 3763325 )

      Get off facebook? Sure, a lot of people would love to stop feeding the monopoly. When entire social groups are locked into Facebook, it's a burden to get off. One person leaving won't convince others to leave; especially when each person has hundreds of friends and contacts on the platform. We've really been basket weaved in there.

      Speaking from experience; I left facebook 8 months ago, and now my friends are pissed at me because they have to contact me separately, instead of including me in the group ch

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I left facebook 8 months ago, and now my friends are pissed at me because they have to contact me separately, instead of including me in the group chat. It's become a burden to everyone involved.

        Facebook isn't a monopoly because of its technology. It's a monopoly because they've literally locked entire social networks into their platform.

        Facebook's technology is "good enough" and has the illusion of being free. Facebook does have some competition in some niche areas. I am on a few groups on meetup.com. Meetup.com is actually better at groups than facebook. The problem is that meetup isn't free while facebook has the illusion of being free so most people tend to use facebook for groups instead.

  • If the FCC hadn't regulated AOL and AIM, AOL would still be running a closed ecosystem that we'd all be suffering under today. Thank God, the FCCs attempt to make AOL better actually just hastened their demise. I don't know that the world would be a better place without Facebook, but it might be. Go for it FCC!
  • Just like no one was "forced" to use AT&T pre-Modification of Final Judgement.

    Break them up. Google, Facebook, all of them. They all need to be busted into a million pieces.

    • The barrier to entry to compete with AT&T was: "Put in telephone poles and/or tear up the sidewalks to put in cabling along every right-of-way in every city, county, and state in the entire country. Wire up every home, office, and factory in the country for your new service. Then invent and manufacture the switches and exchanges to go with them, buy the real estate these require, and install."

      The barrier to entry to compete with Facebook or Google is: "Have a good idea. Get some VC. Open an AWS acco

  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @05:26PM (#55324751)

    I talked to FB and AOL user about this idea. This is how they reacted:

    FB User: I like it.
    AOL user: Me too

  • On what basis? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @05:29PM (#55324763)
    As the summary indicates, this requirement on AOL was part of a deal to allow a merger between Time-Warner and AOL. As far as I know, Facebook isn't looking to merge with anybody, so what would be the basis for dictating how they run their business?
    • what would be the basis for dictating how they run their business?

      Threats obviously! We'll tell Facebook that if they refuse, we'll move the president from Twitter to Facebook. ;)

    • so what would be the basis for dictating how they run their business?

      Someone saw AIM shut doors, linked it to forced openness and figured that Facebook would be a good next target?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    because of the hold Facebook has on how we communicate online.

    I do have a Facebook account, and yet I have no fucking idea what you are talking about here. In what way does Facebook "have a hold on how we communicate online?" Almost everyone I know (it's way over 95%) has SMS at a minimum, and the kind of people that I actually have anything nontrivial to say anything to, all have email. By the time you add email to SMS, I think I'm at 100%. I am drawing a blank on anyone for whom I would have to use Facebo

    • Almost everyone I know (it's way over 95%) has SMS at a minimum

      Cellular carriers in the United States charge per message for SMS: 10 cents to send and 10 cents to receive. Facebook doesn't charge for Facebook Messenger. Nor does Microsoft charge for Skype text chat.

      • Cellular carriers in the United States charge per message for SMS: 10 cents to send and 10 cents to receive.

        Most modern US cellphone plans include texts for nothing. I know I haven't had to pay for text messages for at least 10 years, perhaps more.

        MMS was a different story until I moved to an unlimited plan.

        • Most modern US cellphone plans include texts for nothing.

          Plans priced to replace a landline do. Plans designed to augment one do not. Some home ISPs' pricing plan provides a landline at negligible or no extra charge: Internet with TV and Internet with voice cost about the same as Internet alone. Subscribers to those ISPs may see duplicative phone service with unlimited voice and unlimited text as an unnecessary charge and decide to use a mobile phone on a sub-$10/mo pay-as-you-go plan for urgent calls, with home or restaurant Wi-Fi instead of cellular data. These

          • Some home ISPs' pricing plan provides a landline at negligible or no extra charge: Internet with TV and Internet with voice cost about the same as Internet alone.

            I hate to tell you, but VoIP is not "landline".

            a mobile phone on a sub-$10/mo pay-as-you-go plan for urgent calls,

            Yes, you can find "nickle and dime you to death" plans, but choosing poorly is still a choice.

            • I hate to tell you, but VoIP is not "landline".

              It is if you have DSL. The voice service bundled with DSL isn't VoIP but POTS. The voice service bundled with cable and FTTH isn't, but it's still a landline in the broader sense of a voice service over a wired physical layer that can send and receive calls to traditional phone numbers at little or no additional charge.

              Yes, you can find "nickle and dime you to death" plans, but choosing poorly is still a choice.

              If one sends and receives few enough SMS messages and few enough voice calls while away from home that the monthly charge is stlil less than the monthly charge for a unlimited voice and SMS p

      • Unlimited texting has been thing for nearly a decade. What crappy company are you signed up for that still charges by the text?

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Unlimited texting has been thing for nearly a decade.

          True on plans that charge tens of dollars per month or hundreds of dollars per year.

          What crappy company are you signed up for that still charges by the text?

          T-Mobile USA's $3 per month pay-as-you-go plan includes 30 minutes or texts per month, with overages at 10 cents per minute or text.

          • T-Mobile USA's $3 per month pay-as-you-go plan includes 30 minutes or texts per month,

            So they don't charge per text for the first thirty. Solution: if you have such a limited plan, don't sign up for a service that uses texts as a means of communicating. "I choose limited" means you've chosen limited.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Solution: if you have such a limited plan, don't sign up for a service that uses texts as a means of communicating.

              Agreed. I was trying to address AC's "Almost everyone I know (it's way over 95%) has SMS at a minimum" claim. I imagine that quite a few subscribers to home Internet access use its bundled voice service as grounds to justify subscribing to a metered cellular plan.

    • I work around the pub/restaurant industry in my area. Many nowadays don't bother having websites and email addresses are also not guaranteed. Every single one has at least Facebook - for most their Facebook page is their main portal to the world. I even know some (although not that common) who don't have a phone on the premises (they don't take bookings and don't want to be pestered). You're just thinking too personal.

  • Don't tease me like that.
  • "Facebook has to allow people to access their relationships however they want through other businesses or tools that are not controlled by Facebook," Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, said. "Having them control and mediate the structure of those relationships -- that's not right."

    Why and why? If we're going to decry the existence of monocultures, the agriculture industry is a much better place to look first. There are serious potential consequences to limiting bio-diversity unlike th

    • Except its not a playground anymore. Talking like that just makes you sound like the people in the 90s who thought the Internet was just a playground and would never take off. Facebook is way past the point where its just a playground.

  • Facebook has APIs for everything... WTF is this all about? Has no one noticed that you can send Facebook messages through Skype? :)
    Anyone can build their own Facebook messenger or pretty much anything they want.
    Here:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7... [makeuseof.com]
    https://developers.facebook.co... [facebook.com]
    You're welcome.

try again

Working...