“We got word that [Tuesday], Facebook Inc. is inviting Capitol Hill staffers to Washington DC’s “newest, most exclusive event venue” for free food and drinks. Events like this enable Facebook to peddle influence in the halls of power, and keep lawmakers from cracking down on its abuse of our democracy.”
So begins a statement by Sarah Miller, of Citizens Against Monopoly to the manufactured housing (MH) industry’s Daily Business News received at 8:15 PM last night. CAM is a subset of the Open Markets Institute, which promotes prosperity and liberty, including through their antitrust efforts.
MH industry marketing professionals are among the sources who have raised concerns over the enormous – and still growing – power that Facebook and Google have in marketing manufactured housing.
Voices across the left-right divide have increasingly been concerned too, because they exert so much sway over politicians.
But among those-laser focused on the issue is a group called Citizens Against Monopoly (CAM).
“So we would like to extend the RSVP to you, the Citizens Against Monopoly community,” stated their message, about the latest Facebook lobbying move.
Some details about the Facebook event follow.
“A Place to Connect, D.C.”, bringing together “the D.C. community and Facebook” for “conversation and product demos”
The Showroom, 1099 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.
When: 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm, June 19
CAM on Facebook’s Lobbying
“In the first quarter of 2018, Facebook spent $3.3 million lobbying the U.S. government, more than ever before,” CAM’s Miller told MHProNews. “That’s a key part of how it builds power and evades accountability, and events like this one are part of the process.”
“At “A Place to Connect,” Facebook’s #3 executive and top lobbyists will be schmoozing the people who are supposed to represent us, and trying to bamboozle Congress into believing that the company’s reforms are for real,” Miller said.
“For instance, a former corporate lawyer who is now Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer will try to argue that Facebook is stepping it up on privacy — all actual evidence to the contrary,” she asserts.
Industry readers may have seen Facebook’s ads on cable TV and elsewhere. Facebook is pitching their reforms to the public, ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
But critics say that Facebook has failed to seriously address the fact that they played a significant role in former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, as did Google. Given their enormous power in online search, Facebook and Google are among those forces that can help make or break a candidate.
“Other presenters will be discussing Facebook’s role in the opioid crisis and its approach to election integrity, vital topics that are in the national interest. Facebook is billing the event as a “conversation” — if that’s the case, the people affected by Facebook’s bad behavior should be in the room to ask the tough questions,” Miller said to MHProNews.
“With so much at stake in the debate over Facebook and the future of internet privacy, your voice deserves to be heard. So if you’re able, show up and ensure that the public is represented,” CAM stated.
Facts About Facebook, Google’s Growing Power
A December 2017 report by Statista said, “In fact, two companies, you may know them by the names of Google and Facebook, are so dominant in the online world that they account for more than 60 percent of global online ad revenues.”
Many mainstream news operations are alarmed at how much ad money – and thus political power – Facebook and Google have accumulated. Warren Buffett is among those who have said that many media outlets will fail as a result.
Among the concerns are the fact that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg himself said in congressional testimony that there is a strong bias against conservatives, and for leftist, so-called “progressive” political causes.
New York Stern university’s Scott Galloway has been cited previously as a pro-tech voice, that believes that the Big Four must be broken up.
The RSVP is for the Facebook D.C. event is linked below.
While most industry pros are unlikely to be able to attend on such short notice, Citizens Against Monopoly provide the following link to ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to break up Facebook.
Industry Trade Media and Monopoly Reporting
Regular, longtime readers know that MHProNews has cited similar concerns over the monopolistic influence over the industry exerted by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. To see how others in the mainstream media have raised similar concerns about Berkshire Hathaway’s increasingly monopolistic domination of manufactured housing, see the related reports links below.
Among the manufactured home industry’s trade media, or those in MH who blog, etc., MHProNews has stood largely alone in raising concerns about monopoly power in the industry.
To their credit, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in their reports has raised alarms over Berkshire Hathaway brands like Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt.
But MH industry bloggers and publishers are happily taking ad money from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and are largely silent on the disturbing trends. Many in MHVille believe that MHI is dominated by Berkshire Hathaway and their related interests.
One industry blogger that does periodic MH news admitted that “1,000” manufactured home industry professionals are talking about the influence of monopoly in MH, but that only MHProNews is focused on the subject. That MH blogger succumbed months ago to running more pro-MHI news too.
Given the trend lines of industry consolidation, it is a subject that no industry professional or investor can reasonably ignore.
When Republican Senator Ted Cruz (TX) and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) are both speaking up about the corrosive influence of these monopolies, isn’t it time for more industry pros to sit up and take notice? These linked related reports can be read later, for more details.
Along with Apple and Microsoft, operations that are racing towards a trillion dollars in market cap which may be obtained next year, and how that can “suck the oxygen” out of the room for capital and competitors, as Galloway has said.
In the recently decided anti-trust case, some argued for AT&T that their survival is dependent on growth.
When a giant like AT&T, or Walmart are concerned about the rise of FANG or Amazon, and industry pros fret over the power of Berkshire Hathaway in MHVille, isn’t it a common-sense concern that federal regulators and advocates ought to address?
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