Senator Criticizes Tech Industry For Using Algorithms To Grow Their Power

Algorithms are serving as "sophisticated, strategic tools to maintain and strengthen" the power of companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, says Senator Al Franken. He criticized the tech industry for increasing its power over users through those tools.

Because of their algorithms, Google and social media platforms "decide for us what we should read, watch, buy or even how we should engage in civil society, and they're doing it all under the shadow of complicated algorithms." He also highlighted how some companies have abused their market position, such as Amazon leveraging its position to get better terms from book publishers.

Since these platforms and their algorithms can so significantly affect the American public, Senator Franken believes there's a role for increased government regulation. He hopes there will be a push in that direction spurred on by Russia's interference in the 2016 US election.

The government has a responsibility to ensure that these corporations do not endanger our national security, our democracy or our fundamental freedoms, - Franken

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently held hearings featuring representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Their responses in those hearings demonstrate "these companies may not be up to the challenge that they've created for themselves," says Franken.