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2020 alarm bells ring for Big Tech: But are the companies "too big to fail"?

 
Imagine this scene: Leading business school* class, Business Ethics 401 -
 
PROFESSOR:
 
As we begin the semester, because of the topic's complexity and importance, I will give you until April 30th to submit your term paper - worth 25% of your final grade - on this topic:
 
"Are the 2020 alarm bells on Big Tech  generating momentum sufficient to offset the companies' putative 'too big to fail' powers?"
 
Context: Consider the vast powers and influence on society now held by companies such as Facebook,  Google and Twitter. Sweeping technological advances often bring social and political challenges along with many benefits. But the twenty-first century digitally-based communications technology is generating the unprecedented: A new species of powerful companies with vast influence on society itself. What are the ethical and social responsibilities if these companies? How will they be met?
 
In addition to the sources you should develop, you may also consider:
 
Scientific American article"Misinformation Has Created a New World of Disorder"  

New York Times articles -

"How California's New Privacy Law Affects You"  (following in the wake of the European Union's ground-breaking 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
 
" 'Techlash' Hits College Campuses"  Students' ethical concerns growing: "The positive perceptions of Google, Facebook and other large tech firms are crumbling."
 
Should Big Tech -- Facebook, etc. -- post lies because they are "newsworthy"? Columnist examines such social media "journalism"  "When Politicians Get A License to Lie"  

 

 Also, for historical background and current relevance:
 
Antitrust break-up of Standard Oil into 34 independent companies - NYT:  "May 15,1911 Supreme Curt Orders Standard Oil to Be Broken Up"
 

 

 STUDENT:
 
OK. But what about the social responsibilities of the governments that regulate these companies?.
 
PROFESSOR:
 
Please read the syllabus. That's the topic of our class next week.
 
 
* Perhaps a participant in the global Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRIME) organization

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