Internet firms face a global techlash

HOW much bigger can they get? The five biggest technology firms—Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—have published financial results in recent weeks that put their combined quarterly revenues at $143bn. Yet this rude financial health conceals a more troubling long-term trend: governments, long willing to let internet firms act as they wish, are increasingly trying to tie them down.

This goes far beyond the latest row over sexism and tolerance of diverse political viewpoints in Silicon Valley, sparked by a memo written by a Google employee (see article). Scarcely a week passes without a sign of the shift in attitudes. On August 1st Amber Rudd, Britain’s home secretary, warned that unless the firms did more to block extremist content from their platforms, they would be forced to do so by new laws…

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