back to article Steve Bannon wants Facebook, Google 'regulated like utilities'

Steve Bannon, President Trump's chief policy strategist who has been dubbed "the Second Most Powerful Man in the World", wants a clampdown on Silicon Valley. Bannon reportedly wants "utility-style" regulation for the giant internet platforms, according to The Intercept. Facebook, Google and Amazon are named in the report. …

  1. Paul Smith

    "Utility-style" regulation, what could possibly go wrong?

    Anybody else remember the California brown-outs in 2000 and 2001?

  2. zvonr

    Enron had more to do with the California brown-outs than regulation...

  3. Citizens untied

    Seems like a Facebook brown out is just what the doctor ordered.

  4. MD Rackham

    It also had more to do with deregulation than regulation.

  5. bombastic bob Silver badge

    if you'd lived in California at the time, 'Grey Out" Davis (and the DemoRats in general) was to blame, for gummint intervention, etc. and obstruction of construction of a sufficient number of power plants and other infrastructure. Gov. Swarzenegger campaigned on un-doing that blockade during the recall, and won. And it worked.

    Example: the Moss Landing power plant had been in a state of disrepair for YEARS. Once Gov "Terminator" was in office, that thing was back up and fully operational in a few months (as I recall, it's an oil burning plant). Basically, snip the red tape and let the company get things done, and you'll get PLENTY of electricity. It was _OBVIOUS_ to those who were "there", no matter what Wikipedia might say about it.

    (part of the Moss Landing story might have been PRICE CONTROLS for power generators, and allowing certain plants to charge MORE during peak hours, i.e. 'market forces', ALSO helped keep the lights on)

    So THAT was the problem: gummint was GETTING IN THE WAY.

    Also, please remember, Wikipedia articles are often written by activists the left, re-edited by activists on the left (often in 'edit wars'), and then used as "proof" for the left's agenda. It has an obvious bias. On non-political things it can be VERY helpful, like describing math formulae or internet protocols. On political things (and even history), not so much. It's not even REMOTELY balanced. It's not even REMOTELY fair. Because CONSERVATIVES and LIBERTARIANS don't have enough "free time" (read: paid editors working for media matters with a leftist agenda re-edit things, because they don't have to have REAL jobs) to spend re-re-editing Wikipedia and undo the re-editing (assuming they had time to post/edit in the FIRST place, working hard and living their lives).

  6. StheD

    I live in California too, and it is interesting your entire post didn't mention Enron once. Oddly enough once Enron went away the gray outs did also. Odd, unless someone built a power plant in a few weeks.

  7. E 2

    Certainly California politics are odd...


    Kenneth Lay - convicted on 19 of 28 counts of securities fraud and wire fraud, sentenced to 24 years and 4 months, fined $630 million.

    Jeffrey Skilling - convicted of all six counts of securities and wire fraud for which he had been tried, conveniently died of a heart attack before sentencing.

    Surely you don't call that gummint interference?

  8. hnwombat

    Bombastic Bob: [snip]...[snip]


    "Facts have a well-known left-leaning bias!"

  9. InNY

    Here you go:


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wrong analogy

    California brownouts nothing to do with regulation or rather, regulators. Everything to do with referdena votes on prop this and that which banned building of new power stations, fixed the price to the consumer and allowed a free moving wholesale market. economic madness but that's direct democracy for you where dumbassess get bombarded with false information and twisted facts by powerful lobbies with deep pockets. remind you of brexit anyone .. another totally idiotic uinnecessary fubar funded by bunch of twisted rick fucks in the guise of populism.

  11. Orv Silver badge

    Based on the idea that the Enron-created outages were a genuine sign of a lack of supply, California authorized lots of new plants under da Guvinator. Now there's an electricity surplus, and ratepayers are paying for plants that sit idle -- but power companies keep lobbying to build new ones anyway.

  12. Florida1920 Silver badge

    "Clash of civilisations"

    If you stretch the definition to include the self-proclaimed alt-right as a "civilization," then the clash is occurring right now, all over the West. The resurgent Right is a greater threat to Western civilization than anything coming out of the Mideast.

    Trump goes to Warsaw and proclaims the supremacy of Western culture, while back at home his budgetary agenda undermines culture in favor of even more expenditure on military supremacy, which the U.S. already has to excess.

    The unholy Trinity of Trump, Bannon and Scaramucci threaten to lead the U.S. into a new Dark Age, while our Parliament of Whores lights the way.

  13. conel

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    The biggest threat to western civilisation are it's inhabitants who are unwilling to acknowledge just how good it is compared to anywhere else.

  14. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    "The resurgent Right is a greater threat to Western civilization than anything coming out of the Mideast."


    It's a bloodless war. For our freedom. I want mine *BACK* !!! That's what it is. No more, nor less. Why do you think Trump has made a MARINE CORPS GENERAL his new chief of staff???

    IT'S A WAR!

    /me plays "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars

  15. WonkoTheSane

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    Then why has Twitler FIRED Mooch?

  16. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    Then why has Twitler FIRED Mooch?

    Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    Mooch was hogging the headlines, among other sins. Mooch is by no means out of the picture, merely out of the spotlight. The infamous Corey Lewandowski is still hanging around, too.

  17. Chemical Bob Bronze badge

    Re: IT'S A WAR!

    There are many decaffeinated brands on the market that taste just as good as the real thing, Bob.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    "The unholy Trinity of Trump, Bannon and Scaramucci"

    Scaramucci? Please try to keep up.

  19. E 2

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    "Parliament of Whores" is one of the funniest political books I've read.

  20. Orv Silver badge

    Re: "Clash of civilisations"

    "Why do you think Trump has made a MARINE CORPS GENERAL his new chief of staff???"

    Because that's the kind of thing the military dictators he considers role models usually do?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "partnership of big government and corporatists"

    Wasn't expecting to agree with Bannon on anything. But of course these are pre-election sound-bites. Whereas it was business as usual for billionaires once Trump took over... Just a different faction of elites klepto'ing away:


    ....."There’s a relatively obscure agency in the federal government that is engaged in a huge fight... It’s called the Export-Import Bank. And for years, it was a bank that helped finance things that other banks wouldn’t do. And what’s happening over time is that it’s metastasized to be a cheap form of financing to General Electric and to Boeing and to other large corporations. You get this financing from other places if they wanted to, but they’re putting this onto the middle-class taxpayers to support this. ... as an example of the cronyism. General Electric and these major corporations that are in bed with the federal government are not what we’d consider free-enterprise capitalists. We’re backers of entrepreneurial capitalists. They’re not. They’re what we call corporatist. They want to have more and more monopolistic power and they’re doing that kind of convergence with big government. And so the fight here — and that’s why the media’s been very late to this party — but the fight you’re seeing is between entrepreneur capitalism, and the Acton Institute is a tremendous supporter of, and the people like the corporatists that are closer to the people like we think in Beijing and Moscow than they are to the entrepreneurial capitalist spirit of the United States".....


    ...."What was the feeling on Wall Street when they bailed out the banks? - Here’s how capitalism metastasized, is that all the burdens put on the working-class people who get none of the upside. All of the upside goes to the crony capitalists. The bailouts were absolutely outrageous, and here’s why: It bailed out a group of shareholders and executives who were specifically accountable. The shareholders were accountable for one simple reason: They allowed this to go wrong without changing management. And the management team of this. And we know this now from congressional investigations, we know it from independent investigations, this is not some secret conspiracy. This is kind of in plain sight. In fact, one of the committees in Congress said to the Justice Department 35 executives, I believe, that they should have criminal indictments against — not one of those has ever been followed up on. Because even with the Democrats, right, in power, there’s a sense between the law firms, and the accounting firms, and the investment banks, and their stooges on Capitol Hill, they looked the other way.".....

  22. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a "shamanic" influence over [...] the 2016 Presidential Election campaign"

    Really ?

    Someone might want to point that out to the FBI probe concerning alleged Russian influence. After all, if the influence was so important, it might be worth checking if those people were embroiled in that part as well.

  23. Haku Silver badge

    I think I'm getting latent Dyslexia.

    Everytime I see words that start with "tr" my mind automatically replaces them with "ch".

    It's especially bad when I'm reading anything about current US politics.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't MIND TELLING YOU ORL that I am A TRUMPP SUPPORTAH. I voted for HIM (three Tomes ACTUALLY) and I VOTED FOR melanin TWICE by leaving. A Substance OF MINE ON THE BLOT paper..I am WHAT AMORICAA is now. And I THINK STEEVE BENTONE is. GEENIUS LIKE the men with Ponietales WHO WORK AT APP.E. IF HE says fecesboom SHULD BE TEGURGITATED then HE is WRITE. SAME wig TWATTSR as long as TRUMO can SRILL TELL the people of this GRATE NASHUN his POLICY THOIFHTS. THOUGHTS. DONUT. Today I AM NOT nakid but tumorrow I MIGHT BE. Trump and BANTON are like My FALRUTE FAVOURITE KRISPY KREME donuts. SHINY AND slick on the OUTSIDE AND full of wet goodness ON THE IMSIDE THat I would LIKE TO LICK.

  25. ratfox Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: YOS!

    Please never write a comment like this again. I don't know what was your point and I don't care.

  26. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    When cousins marry ?

  27. Midnight

    Re: YOS!

    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  28. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Re: AI researchers create revolutionary new Artificial Stupidity

    "We spent years trying to make intelligent systems" says Prof Simon Williams from the Institute of Studies, but there was much greater demand for stupidity. The natural supply of stupid people couldn't keep up with the demands of millions of internet comment feeds - so we had to invent an automated system.

  29. Blank Reg Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    "At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought."

    Was that trump posting on The Reg?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: YOS!

    Microsoft Tay v2.0. A bit of fine tuning still needed.

  31. handleoclast Silver badge

    Re: YOS!


    1) A lot of commentards are apparently unable to recognise satire unless you include "/s" somewhere in the post.

    2) Your post seemed like it was written by the love-child of bombastic bob and a man from mars. I shall need bleach to get that image out of my head. Not the image of the love-child (although that is bad enough) but the process that created it.

  32. Alistair Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    Jeeze folks. Stop giving Bombastic Bo(m)b's anonymous sister-daughter this much attention.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: YOS!

    I can recognise satire.

    I can also recognise shit.

    And I hate shit satire.

  34. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: YOS!

    The first time I ever considered hitting the report abuse button.

    Your post abused my senses, sanity and the English language.

  35. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    " I don't know what was your point and I don't care."

    Actually I thought it was a skit on Bob. That's the trouble with the intertubes - you cen never quite be sure.

  36. E 2

    Re: YOS!

    Haha! Satire!

  37. gandalfcn

    Re: YOS!

    I suspect the person was attempting to be amusing.

  38. Chris G Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    "When cousins marry?"

    And give banjos to their offspring at Christmas.

  39. Chris G Silver badge

    Re: AI researchers create revolutionary new Artificial Stupidity

    I thought the supply of stupid people was sell sustaining?

  40. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    Thinking we may have missed the subtle satire in your post.

  41. Milton Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    This is what happens when Bombastic Bob's Adult Supervision leaves him alone at the keyboard for five minutes. His Darker Half takes over and starts posting.

    Speaking of which ...

    Someone mentioned that the freshly exhumed man-child Scaramucci might be Trump's "id" at the White House. Notwithstanding that Mooch has been blessedly re-inhumed, one's id is usually somewhat concealed in polite company—the implication being that it's got some naughty impulses that should be inhibited. So: does this mean that there is an *even worse* bit of Trump that is still hidden?! How is that even possible?

  42. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Re: YOS!

    I am WHAT AMORICAA is now

    Defunct and non-existent? Amorica was a province of ancient Gaul..

  43. gormful

    Bannon wants "utility-style regulation" for Google, but not for the cable companies and ISPs that control our access to the Intertubes? He couldn't POSSIBLY be thinking of regulating or censoring search results, right? Right?

  44. bombastic bob Silver badge

    'utility style' isn't the right approach

    'Utility Style' regulation isn't the right approach. Google and Facebook aren't required for intarwebs access.

    HOWEVER - _SOME_ regulation is warranted. And when I say 'regulation' I'm talking PRIVACY, where the source of the problem is.

    There's nothing stopping anyone from asking people directly to advertise something on a web site. So advertisement marketing regulations wouldn't be needed, either. I can ask my friend who owns a web site "hey can you put these ads on your site?" and then pay for them. Nothing stopping this.

    Now, with Google and Faceb[ook,itch] dominating the market and providing marketing strategies to make your ads more effective, a lot of people will want those services. For now.

    There's nothing stopping anyone from getting into the same business, except maybe a lack of target-market data [which Google and Faceb[ook,itch] have built up for a few years.

    So they have a competitive advantage. YET.. the USE of that data might need some regulation, to avoid privacy violations.

    Otherwise, let them do what they want. Personally, I see it as Trump doing "Art of the Deal" again. You make a bold statement about what you want to do. The other side fires back. You end up in the middle. And win something.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, he wants to kill them to limit the exchange of information and I thought he was anti-regulation guy...hhmm...shouldn't things like this make this supporters wonder about his motives?

  46. Rich 11 Silver badge

    I expect his supporters are well aware that he's a crypto-fascist. They see it as a plus point.

  47. nijam Silver badge

    > ... shouldn't things like this make this supporters wonder about his motives?

    His supporter is Trump. And Trump is all in favour of regulation (of those who criticise him) and completely opposed to state intervention (of his cronies).

  48. ST Silver badge

    pseudo-debate in desperate search for clicks

    I don't know who pays attention to Steve Bannon's economic policy opinions, save for Donald J. Trump.

    Regulate Google or Facebook as utilities?

    It appears that neither Mr. Bannon, nor Mr. Orlowski are aware of the fact that, in the US of A, utilities are regulated at State level, not at Federal level. There is no US Department Of Gas or US Department of Electricity. And the Feds don't read your gas or electricity bill.

    There is no US Department Of Social Media, either.

    Which makes the whole premise of Mr. Bannon's uttering, and of this article, senseless.

    States can't regulate Google or Facebook traffic, as Internet traffic falls under the authority of the FCC. And I don't quite see how the State of Missouri and the State of Kansas - for example - could impose different TCP packet prioritization or transmission/delivery rules. That would be a recipe for complete chaos. We'd end up with 50 different sets of rules. Good luck with the implementation.

    Concerned that Facebook knows everything about you? Too late. If that is your primary concern, you shouldn't have signed up for Facebook in the first place. As an adult over 18 years of age, you should have known that nothing is free.

  49. Alphebatical

    Re: pseudo-debate in desperate search for clicks

    Fun fact: regulation of interstate commerce is handled by the federal government.

  50. ST Silver badge

    Re: pseudo-debate in desperate search for clicks

    > Fun fact: regulation of interstate commerce is handled by the federal government.

    No, it's actually Congress that has the power to regulate interstate commerce. Not the executive branch. Congress has delegated some interstate regulatory powers to the FTC. And neither Congress, nor the FTC regulate utilities.

    And how exactly would that apply to Google, or Facebook? Neither of them are selling you anything. And you aren't buying anything from them, because their services are offered free of charge.

    Here's another fun fact, 100% unrelated to the premise of this article - just like your comment: bananas change their color to yellow when they are ripe.


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