Re: “Google’s Sundar Pichai: Privacy Should Not be a Luxury Good”

John Stanton • May 20, 2019

Privacy is indeed a major concern for Americans and should not be the preserve of the wealthy. But it is a bit rich to read Google’s CEO extoll the virtues of his company’s initiatives to protect privacy when it collects more data on Americans than any other company, even Facebook. Those two companies have used that data to dominate the digital advertising market, capturing more than 60% of all digital ad revenue and raking in 9 out of every 10 new dollars spent on digital ads.

The “Duopoly” has had massive effects on numerous industries, particularly journalism. Traditional publishers have been crushed and even digital outlets are being squeezed hard, a problem I know all too well. After years as a national affairs reporter and DC bureau chief, I was laid off by BuzzFeed in January and I joined the ranks of the 2,500 journalists who have lost their jobs in 2019. Google and Facebook are strangling one of the cornerstones of our democracy, the free press.

Google’s privacy reforms won’t stop its data collection practices. This Duopoly is not healthy for our economy and its not healthy for our democracy. It’s time for real anti-trust scrutiny of these massive tech giants in order to save journalism.

John Stanton was a senior national affairs reporter and D.C. bureau chief at BuzzFeed. He was part of the 15% of recent news staff laid off by the outlet.