Google and Facebook have a new friend: The Koch family

As two of tech's biggest companies face antitrust investigations, a surprising defender emerges.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on

It's all to protect you.

Screenshot by ZDNet

The friend of my friend is my enemy.


The enemy of my friend is my enemy.

Well, sometimes.

But the enemy of my enemy is definitely my friend, even if it's the sort of friendship that is often conducted in quiet, darkened places.

I'm moved, therefore, by a public declaration of, if not friendship, then certainly solidarity that's just been offered to Google and Facebook.

These two basically friendly -- and even, in one case, friend-based -- companies are suddenly accused of being menaces to society.

Yet along comes Americans For Prosperity to declare: Hold on you prickly poseurs, Google and Facebook have good people on both sides.

Should you be unfamiliar with Americans For Prosperity, it's one of the many advocacy tentacles of the Koch family.

And it's released a passionate appeal to caring humans to vehemently protest, should America's Attorneys Generals become overly beastly to Google and Facebook.

The appeal comes in the form of ads that declare: "Don't Let Government Abuse Antitrust Authority." Oddly, these ads are running on, oh, Facebook.

Currently, State Attorney Generals far and wide across America -- as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice -- have launched antitrust probes against those bastions of the fair fight, Google and Facebook.

And perhaps against other tech companies, too.

Americans For Prosperity says it's "encouraging AGs to focus their investigation on real, measurable consumer harm and anti-competitive practices."

You see, this is all for you, dear consumer. Americans For Prosperity wants to protect you from the grasping egos of Attorney Generals. It believes, you see, that "consumers will be worse off if antitrust laws are used to advance a political agenda by threatening or breaking up successful companies."

And there you were thinking that Facebook owning Instagram and WhatsApp was a bit much.

There you were thinking that if there were a lot more smaller tech companies, as opposed to a mere few monopolist types, there'd be more competition. Don't be silly.

Always playing politics, those attorneys general, you know. Unlike corporations like Google, Facebook, and the Koch Corporation, which strictly adhere to the pursuit of capital gains.

Unless, that is, those pesky politicians get in the way. Then these corporations are forced to hire politically astute lobbyist bouncers to restore the natural order.

Let's be honest, fairness doesn't seem such a popular concept these days. Yet in the Wall Street JournalTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton -- whose main interest is Google -- insisted he had no interest in threatening Google's size.

Instead, this was a little bucolic exploration. Paxton said: "The British pastor Charles Spurgeon once wrote that 'a village is a hive of glass, where nothing unobserved can pass.' We are simply asking Google to pull back the curtains and let us see if the village gates are truly open."

In Agatha Christie novels, when they pull back the curtains, there are always troubling skeletons to be found.

Please, I'm not here to state rights and wrongs, even if large companies rarely seem to enjoy actually competing fairly. Why, here's an article entitled: "Explainer: Advertising executives point to five ways Google stifles business."

I prefer to focus on the amusing image of Facebook and Google, supposed repositories of all things liberal, now holding hands and skipping down village pathways with the repository of singularly conservative thought, the Koch family.

You see, we can all work together. We just have to try.

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