If we truly had a fully free market economy, this type of reaction would always be the norm. It is when crony capitalism reigns supreme that we have instances of companies knowingly pushing products that hurt consumers — with the support and blessing of the government.
We need a vision and set of principles to fight back against neo-Luddites and their proposals to slow or stop technological change.
Today’s neo-Luddite tech critics suggest that we should just be content with the tools of the past and slow down the pace of technological innovation to supposedly save us from any number of dystopian futures they predict. If they succeed, it will leave us in a true dystopia.
Government regulation isn’t just bad because it ignores the unintended consequences that restrictions produce over time. Regulation is also bad because it invites cronyism.
Social media companies like Facebook obviously want to comply with the law, but they would also like to stay in business. That business depends fundamentally on targeting based on some demographic grounds. If a consistent application of non-discrimination law means that advertising has to become completely random to be compliant, Internet economics will experience the fate of countless public housing units in the past: it will be completely demolished.