TCA 2019: FX boss says he’s fundamentally opposed to when “one entity or one person gets to unilaterally make the rules or pronounce the truth”
FX chief John Landgraf questioned whether Facebook and Google’s outsized influence is bad for humanity during his executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, saying it’s “not a good thing for society” that they have such an impact on our day-to-day lives.
Landgraf said he didn’t “begrudge them their existence,” but the two tech giants have nonetheless come to symbolize a downside of Silicon Valley.
“What I don’t tend to like about Silicon Valley is that now the search ecosystem is — for the most part — Google, the social media ecosystem is Facebook,” Landgraf said. “And I don’t think that winner-take-all or winner-take-most mentality is good is good for the world. I don’t think it’s good for America. And it’s not necessarily about who wins. It’s about the notion that I think– balance of power, it’s in our Constitution, it should be in our economy. It’s a good thing.”
Netflix wasn’t spared Landgraf’s criticism, either. The FX boss said the streaming heavyweight’s viewer data is “not remotely accurate,” before adding “one way or another, the truth will come out — as it always does.”
When asked what made him go after Netflix today, Landgraf said his concerns extend beyond the TV industry, saying it’s “not a good thing for society when one entity or one person gets to unilaterally make the rules or pronounce the truth.”
He added: “Leaving Netflix aside, Silicon Valley’s attitude just really, really bothers me. Look at what it’s done to journalism. It started with a free pass on copyright, but now it insists that its divine right is a free pass on copyright. I just don’t like the notion that any one entity gets to decide what is true and tell you what is true, and make their own news without your being able to check the facts or ask questions or do what journalists do. That bothers me on a fundamental level.”
Landgraf didn’t expand on what else he dislikes about Facebook and Google. The two companies have drawn the ire of their smaller counterparts in recent years for their combined dominance over the digital advertising world — with Facebook and Google pulling in 56.8 percent of U.S. online ad dollars last year, according to eMarketer. Both companies have also been criticized in the last year for their handling of user data, with Google admitting it tracked users, even after they’d turned off their Location History, in August. Facebook, meanwhile, was at the center of several user privacy concerns last year, including the Cambridge Analytica data leak, where up to 87 million users had their profile information unknowingly accessed by the now-defunct political data firm.
Tony Maglio contributed to this story.