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We didn't take Andreessen seriously; we thought it was only a metaphor.Now we face the challenge of extracting the world from the jaws of internet platform monopolies.I used to be a technology optimist. During a 35-year career investing in the best and brightest of Silicon Valley, I was lucky enough to be part of the personal computer, mobile communications, internet and social networking industries.For decades, it made the world a better place.Smartphones with LTE mobile infrastructure created the first content-delivery platform that was available every waking moment, transforming the technology industry and the lives of 2 billion users.With little or no regulatory supervision in most of the world, companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Alibaba and Tencent used techniques common in propaganda and casino gambling, such as constant notifications and variable rewards, to foster psychological addiction.The Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election in 2016 also revealed that Facebook provides significant relative advantages to negative messages over positive ones.The automation that made internet platforms so profitable left them vulnerable to manipulation by malign actors everywhere – and not just authoritarian governments hostile to democracy.The U.S. has no effective regulatory framework for internet platforms, and lacks the political will to create one.
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