Introduction “ What is Techlash”
Technological backlash refers to the strong and widespread negative reaction of society and the public to the growing power and influence of large technology companies. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the Internet technology industry has gradually become the most rapidly growing industry in the world economy. Under the banner of idealism, the Internet technology industry claims that companies will use technology to solve problems. But people ignore the monopoly of industry giants and the nature of commercial trade. The techlash phenomenon has become more serious and has raised public concern. The first public concern about the techlash is that the expansion of the scope of large technology companies will reduce the profits of traditional companies, which will lead to the impact of layoffs on ordinary company employees, increasing unemployment and social fears. This could lead to a revolt by some companies and society. Secondly, technology giants have long lacked regulation and ethical standards for their own business and more and more internet platforms are becoming monopolies that do not take social responsibility (Flew, 2018), this is detrimental to traditional businesses as well as leading to greater user dependence on the Internet. Thirdly, the accuracy of information on Internet platforms and fake news.
1-Public concerns about rising unemployment due to Techlash and solutions
The rapid development of the Internet has led to the emergence of techlash, which has had an impact on the social market environment and caused an increase in unemployment. Technology companies have disrupted traditional industries in recent years, and technology has been used to create higher value for humans at a lower cost. In recent years, the word “intelligence” often seems to appear in people’s lives, major technology companies have expanded the scope of involvement, committed to the development of artificial intelligence industry, the machine to replace the artificial has become a major trend driven. Technological development has significantly increased the degree of automation and mechanization of production, which has reduced the input of manpower and therefore led to the reduction of jobs and the increase of social unemployment. Technological advancement is an important factor that leads to the increase of unemployment rate.
The government should take up the responsibility of reducing the problem of increasing unemployment caused by technological development. First of all, the government can improve citizens’ own quality to adapt to the progress of technology and the development of social productivity by taking the initiative to develop new jobs and strengthen vocational training, so as to improve the competitiveness of citizens themselves. Secondly, enterprises should provide and advocate the development of flexible and diversified forms of employment. Provide a variety of part-time, flexible work and other diversified forms of work to achieve an increase in employment opportunities. Thirdly, the labor market should strive to develop the tertiary sector and service industry to expand the scope of employment. Expanding employment is the main way to solve the problem of rising unemployment rate brought by technological progress. The government as a functional department should take the responsibility to reduce the unemployment rate and create enough employment opportunities.
2-Public concerns about monopoly problems caused by Techlash and solutions
The rapid development of Internet platforms has made the issue of monopoly gradually become the focus of social attention, and the Internet platform giants are trying to expand their power and extend their monopoly from one industry to another, and “cross-border competition” has become the norm in the Internet industry. Compared with traditional industries, the concentration of the Internet industry is much higher than that of traditional enterprises. The high concentration is reflected in the fact that there will only be one or two enterprises with huge shares in the same field, and the share of the bottom ranked enterprises in the market is negligible. According Flew (2018), Facebook controlled nearly 80% of mobile social traffic in 2016.And the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit in December 2020 that Facebook’s acquisition of competing networks gave it a monopoly on social networking services in the United States (Brandom & Kelly, 2021). Facebook has essentially become a monopoly in the structural sense. There are two main reasons for the monopoly of the Internet platform, the nature of the Internet platform itself and the lagging regulatory policy. The problem of monopoly in the Internet industry has become a common problem faced by the whole world.
The problem of monopoly should be solved by governments, regulators and enterprises themselves. First of all, the government can stop the creation of monopolies through legislation. For example, the EU tries to completely eliminate the creation of monopolies by adopting the Digital Marketplace Act and the Digital Services Act, starting from preventing platform companies from forming monopolies in a structural sense. Secondly, regulators can introduce more competition as well as strengthen market investigation, continuously monitor market conditions and business operations, and communicate and provide guidance in a timely manner when relevant monopolistic behavior is detected. Third, the U.S. House of Representatives released the ” Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets “, which pointed out that most Internet industry giants have the problem of self-preferential treatment, and companies should strengthen self-regulation to create a good level playing field (U.S. House of Representatives, 2020).. Therefore, the problem of monopoly can be curbed to the maximum extent only if all sectors cooperate with each other.
3-Public concerns about fake news caused by Techlash and solutions
The development of the Internet platform has provided a wider avenue for the dissemination of information. There are always two sides to the coin, and while enjoying the convenience of the Internet has also raised some issues. The Internet has opened up new areas in our collective consciousness with the emergence of a kind of semi-factual journalism that between old-fashioned news and grapevine (Karpf, 2018). Secondly, the internet has created opportunities to provide marginalized groups with a voice, but it has also created opportunities for liars to provide a voice for those who spread hate (Berners-Lee, 2019). Fake news brought by techlash is the main concern of contemporary users. The first reason for the formation of fake news on the Internet platform is the low cost of making and spreading fake news in the Internet era, the almost zero threshold for self-publishing news in the present day, the unstable sources of information, and the fragmentation of communication make it more difficult to verify the authenticity of news. Secondly, with the development of the economy and society, the competition in the media industry has intensified and each is facing great pressure for survival. Some media outlets are competing for exclusive news, creating sensationalism, and seeking more commercial interests. For example, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter are social media platforms that reach billions of users. The algorithms that these platforms rely on deliberately amplify the type of content that engages users. This is why fake news is better than real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than the truth (Sacha, 2019).
The management of fake news should be strengthened in the Internet era. Firstly the government should strengthen the legal management and set up relevant legal provisions. Secondly, media providers provide a platform for the dissemination of false information, so some major platform operators have realized that they can and should take responsibility companies can completely solve the generation of false news from the root through self-regulation (Van, 2018). The government as well as the mainstream media have a certain credibility in people’s minds. Therefore, the government and mainstream media platforms should cooperate with each other to strictly control the authenticity of news.
In recent years, the techlash phenomenon may have become more serious, with rising unemployment due to technological advances replacing human labor, monopolistic policies by companies relying on market dominance, and fake news due to the rapid growth of social media all raising public concerns. If left unchecked, this will affect the social credibility of the entire technology industry and slow down its development. In order to avoid techlash from getting out of control and to alleviate public concerns, the problems caused by techlash can be largely avoided and public concerns alleviated if the technology giants adhere to industry self-regulation and the government and society take more preventive measures.
Flew, T. (2018). Platforms on Trial. Journal Of Digital Media & Policy, 46(1), 16-21. doi: 10.1386/jdmp.10.1.33_1
Karpf, D. (2018). 25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives. Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/wired25-david-karpf-issues-tech-predictions/
Berners-Lee, T. (2019). 30 years on, what’s next #ForTheWeb? World Wide Web Foundation. https://webfoundation.org/2019/03/web-birthday-30/
Sacha, B. C. (2019). Read Sacha Baron Cohen’s scathing attack on Facebook in full: “greatest propaganda machine in history.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/22/sacha-baron-cohen-facebook-propaganda
Van, J. (2018). The Platform Society as a Contested Concept. In The Platform Society. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190889760.003.0002
Brandom, R., & Kelly, M. (2021). FTC says Facebook has been a monopoly ‘since at least 2011’ in amended antitrust complaint. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/19/22627032/ftc-facebook-amended-antitrust-complaint-monopoly-instagram-whatsapp
U.S. House of Representatives. (2020). Investigation Of Competition In Digital Markets. Adfo Books.