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Opinion

Facebook controversy raises wrong questions

Key problem isn't data abuse, but social media's dominance, including in Asia

| Indonesia
Dominant influence of Facebook and other internet platforms make it necessary to treat them like public utilities.   © Reuters

Facebook's current imbroglio is a reminder of an observation by author Thomas Pynchon: "Once they have you asking the wrong questions. They don't have to worry about the answers."

The debate is narrowly focused around privacy and unauthorized data use, especially for political ends. While not insignificant in themselves, they are only part of the challenges posed by the "platform" companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. The risk is for a knee-jerk regulatory response which focuses on the wrong problems.

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