"Free market" conservatives, aghast at Big Tech's hostility, become overnight Roosevelt-style trustbusters

They say "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged" -- whether or not that's true, it's becoming abundantly clear that "a trustbuster is a neoliberal who's been on the wrong side of the online platforms' monopoly power" -- Big Tech was the first beneficiary of Reagan's assault on anti-trust law and has perfected a number of next-generation, bleeding-edge tactics for suppressing competition during 40 years' worth of free rein.

At yesterday's Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Foreign Influence Operations' Use of Social Media Platforms, right-wing elected officials who never met a monopolistic practice they didn't love staged an Olympic-grade pearl-clutching exhibition on the market dominance enjoyed by Big Tech, and the threat this represents to the ability of the right's disinformation machine to function (see also: Alex Jones).

Now, Trump's Department of Justice has announced an inquiry into anti-competitive practices by the platforms. This is doubtless informed by partisan hackery and intended to intimidate, but it is, nevertheless, long overdue. The platforms play all kinds of games, blocking interoperability and fencing their users in with walled gardens, creating outsized consequences for their mistakes.

A friend of mine recently quit a senior job at Facebook and confessed that when he took the job, he was relieved to discover that the company was run by garden variety fools no smarter than anyone else -- and not by invincible supergeniuses.

But of course, no one is an invincible supergenius. Everyone is a fallible idiot. No one is qualified to be the undisputed digital overlord of two billion people.

Further Reading For weeks now, some conservatives lead by President Donald Trump have claimed with scant evidence that tech companies are plotting against them. Even Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), recently encouraged the Federal Trade Commission to re-examine Google's dominance in search and advertising.

Trump, in an interview with The Daily Caller also on Wednesday, reiterated this perspective, saying that he believed tech firms "already" had interfered with the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Given that Trump obviously won the 2016 election, it is hard to discern what exactly is meant by this claim.

DOJ: We will examine social media firms that “may be hurting competition” [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]