The irony of US threatening unilateral, presidential action to ban TikTok is that it might just kickstart the conversation about how the EU would be better off kicking out Facebook/Google/Amazon and the rest of the American big tech locust.
The EU has so far utterly failed to protect its citizens from surveillance capitalism AND not reaped any of the financial benefits from the exploits! The EU has allowed American companies to shale frag all its data reservoirs for peanuts. Now it's left with the toxic sludge.
The cross-Atlantic splinternet is coming as soon as the EU realizes that its been handing the future of its democracy over to a bunch of American big tech companies – and all it got in return was some shiny mirrors and vanity combs.
There has to be some EU trade bureaucrats sitting there with an intense level of regret and envy over what China achieved by shutting out American big tech services, and the resulting super strong industry that grew in its place.
Of course a bloc like the EU should have its own basic tech infrastructure and services under its own control. Search engine, social network, messaging systems, the whole shebang. If NATO is fretting the US is an unreliable friend, why isn't the EU tech stewardship?
In the early days of the internet, the EU had plenty of national services. Far more accountable to democratic control, far better economic partners. There was Jubii in Denmark (search engine). There was Tuenti in Spain (social network). These losses were tragic.
But of course they were losses! Winner-takes-all markets, like search engines and social networks, will ensure that national champions in countries like Denmark or Spain are trampled. And both countries are far worse off being colonies of American big tech imperialism.
Yes, it'll take a while to build back up what was squandered. And in the mean time, the populace may well complain that the local alternatives aren't as good. And they won't be, for a while. But that's the cost of freedom, that's the cost of democracy. It'll be time well spent.
Look at Denmark again. They kicked out Uber. Monumental win for democratic control. The taxa business still adopted, now flush with Uber-like apps. But with regulated cars, drivers paid a decent wage, and sovereignty intact. Huge national win.
The deep truth here is that even the US would stand to benefit from the EU kicking out its big tech champions. Cutting these companies off from lucrative markets would shrink them usefully. Make them easier to bring back under democratic control in the US as well.
Other factor here is that a splinternet would simply be more interesting! Having Facebook and Google rule the world is not just deeply problematic, it's also BORING AS HELL. Remember when traveling meant seeing different products produced by different cultures? Inet needs that.
You're never going to see a Jubii in Denmark again before Google is kicked out. You're never going to see Tuenti in Spain until Facebook is banished. The sooner the EU realizes this, the sooner they can take the steps to reclaim their digital sovereignty. Don't be a US colony.
You can follow @dhh.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: