Platformization

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Concept.png Platformization 
(COVID-19/Economy,  social engineering,  Global control grid)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Platformization.png
Companies are increasingly buying and establishing more platforms between sellers and buyers, achieving dominant market share in multiple markets making it nearly impossible to operate any business without it. This chart shows the amount of platforms one tech company could possess.
TypeEconomic
Start2000
Founder(s)Big Tech
Interest of• Amazon
• Apple
• Facebook
• Google
• Microsoft
• TikTok
• World Economic Forum
Predecessor(s)Privatization
Successor(s)• Wage slavery
• Learned helplessness?
As a part of globalisation, platformization in the introduction of platforms or a new structure (called a business model by its defenders) based on algorithms and disintermediation in a supply chain. It was hailed as preferable to weaken old power structures for the common men. Such as how YouTube gave artists their own "platform".

Platformization[1] in economics is a trend where formerly products and services (such as public transport, website hosting or delivery) subject of strict regulations, labour laws and marketing agreements, have become products - with often much more lenient rules causing civil unrest[2][3] - to be sold between individuals on sites, often after disintermediation[4]. The companies creating these platforms often utilize new technology such as the internet, spyware[5] and forms of offline and online social engineering.[6] Classic examples include, Uber, AirBnB and Alibaba[7].

At the end of the 2010s companies having (just short of absolute) monopolies like Google and Microsoft started platforming[8] their services to create an ecosystem where a consumer could not operate their own product without using that company in the process.[9] The business model was promoted by members of the World Economic Forum for 2030.[10]

Official narrative

Although Wikipedia acknowledges this business model to have existed since the 1900s, the surge of Internet usage massively contributed to the adaption of the model in the biggest enterprises in the world.

An intro on this complex term and what the economy in it will look like.

“"Platformization is when you create a marketplace/environment as your service, then charge people to use it. And to keep people around, you add value through transaction facilitation, user experience, and integration. This is easiest to understand with an example.

Imagine that there’s a village market. All the farmers come along with their turnips and peas to sell. The farmers and customers are marketplace participants. They participate in the market and make money from their products (or, get goods from the farmers).

In this case, the platform would be whoever owns the village square. Say they charge $1 for each farmer to set up their stall in the square. They own the environment that facilitates transactions between farmers and customers but they don’t actually produce any fruit and vegetables themselves."”
Spencer Grover [11]

Current examples

“Platform businesses, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, have come to dominate their respective markets. They have generated massive network effects by facilitating exchanges with technology. As these platforms get more popular, their user value increases, leading to a virtuous cycle where the entire market coalesces around them. Their success has benefited consumers, with both low prices and access to more data-driven services. But this has also resulted in winner-take-all dynamics, making them powerful monopolies and preventing new entrants from coming in and attracting the market away from the dominant platforms. While users have come to coalesce around these platforms because their needs are being well-served, their powerful network effects risk guaranteeing their winner-take-all position. In their initial days, these platforms rapidly gained user acceptance by providing value to them. Their benevolence is increasingly looking like dominance. While they have enabled interactions and opened up markets, increasing efficiency for customers and vendors alike, they are attracting scrutiny. Data has become currency and they have a monopoly on it.”
Sangeet Paul Choudary (8 May 2017)  [12]

Platformization has also helped the emergency of the sharing economy, where people stop owning products and services and start lending them, how trivial or more costly it may be. It was not the face of much criticism until the late 2010s, when citizens started realizing how much of a monopoly one entity can have on services.[13][14]

But don't worry! These results won't come to happen in "the west", CCM says it's only happening in China. [15]

Types

Marketing consultants TechTarget name three main types;

  • Transaction platforms- Also known as digital matchmakers, these are platforms that serve as a type of virtual marketplace or meeting place for various groups of people. Examples of transaction platform companies include Amazon, Etsy and Facebook.
  • Innovation platforms- These provide technology frameworks to customers that can be adapted to individual use. Examples of innovation platform companies include Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.
  • Integration platform- This is a combination of the transaction and innovation platform, similar to online application marketplaces like the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Methods

Dependency

When companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Facebook start to bundle bought platforms all having high market shares in their market (because of perhaps lower costs for the seller and easier use of the product for the buyer) under one owner, and a dependency for the average citizen forms for them, these businesses end up being vital for those citizens as a whole and therefore don't stay companies, but become vital public utilities, as explained in podcast of NPR by NYT tech writer Farhad Manjoo;

“So one of the things that these five companies have done kind of masterfully is create these platforms that startups have to use to get to customers. So they all own these cloud-storage services. So Amazon is an example. If you want to store your media online - so, for example, all the movies that you watch on Netflix are actually stored on Amazon servers - so every time you use Netflix, Netflix is kind of paying Amazon for that kind of storage.

Yeah. It's surprising, first of all, because they're such different companies. You wouldn't really know - you wouldn't really think that they would have that kind of connection. And then they're also competitors. Netflix makes original TV shows and so does Amazon. And so, you know, in this way, Netflix has this dependence on one of its competitors. There are lots of different examples of this though.

There - you know, all app makers have to put their apps in the Apple app store or the Google app store. And when they sell in those apps, 30 percent of that money goes to Apple or Google. They all have to advertise on Facebook or Google to get customers because that's become the way to advertise on digital platforms. And so any new app - Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, all the other sort of smaller companies online - have to go through these five to get to their customers. And what ends up happening is that other companies succeed, but always these five benefit off of that success.”
Farhad Manjoo (26 October 2017)  [16]

Monopoly

When a business owns the leading platforms in multiple markets, a business may actively work against market interests, as explained by Choudary here;

“New entrants face near insurmountable hurdles in such an ecosystem. Consider a new platform that launches and wants to attract partners by offering them better economic terms than the dominant platform. These could involve lower selling fees or other subsidies like free promotions. These terms, in turn, may encourage sellers to reduce prices on the new platform. In such a case, the dominant platform can once again leverage the preferred customer clause and force sellers to offer the same lower prices. However, it is under no obligation to give sellers the better economics they enjoy on the new platform. As a result, sellers are hesitant to join the new platform because any price reduction on it, when mirrored on the dominant platform, would translate to lower margins for them. Thus sellers go on with the dominant platform and the new platform never takes off. As we learn from the above scenarios, a dominant platform may achieve winner-take-all market share by serving the ecosystem well, but it often holds on to this advantage despite working against the interests of the ecosystem. It achieves this purely through negotiating favourable contracts. As dominant platforms continue to thrive, their monopoly is reinforced through these predatory contracts. While sellers feel squeezed, consumers may continue to benefit from better prices. This wards off scrutiny by regulators who are often looking for predatory pricing on the consumer side as evidence of antitrust practices. This is the dark side of winner-take-all platforms.”
Sangeet Paul Choudary (8 May 2017)  [12]

Tracking

Many sites trace their users digitally, and even their physical location, even when not on their site.[17][18]

Integration

Platformization usually comes through market structure integration, or how much a company controls the way its product is sold to the customer. Normally these are 4 main methods; including buying a company responsible for the next or previous step in development of the end product called forward and backward integration, or buying a company operating on the same point of the production process as that company; Eg, a brewer taking over a brewer, called horizontal integration. At last there is the most known form; a conglomerate integration, where one company takes over a company serving a completely other type of customer. Amazon taking over Whole Foods is a good example. All seemingly for market share.

“The much loved upstart that gains network effects by managing incentives across the ecosystem loses its benevolent streak as its power increases. This may take many different forms. Amazon, for example, often uses its platform’s data to determine which product lines to get into; eventually it outperforms the merchants who were doing well with those products. Twitter, likewise, has repeatedly changed policies to work against the ecosystem. A recent example saw Twitter pushing live streaming service Meerkat off the platform after acquiring its competitor, Periscope.”
Sangeet Paul Choudary (8 May 2017)  [12]

Algorithm manipulation

No matter where you are the goal of any commercial entity is to keep you using them as long as possible.

Many new companies forming the Platform Economy use algorithms to effectively help their costumers, most users do not know how it works. In fact several of the biggest sites have developers that stopped understanding how their own algorithm works.[19]

II-linked and DisinfoPortal member Guillaume Chaslot called the algorism not in the consumers interests; "It isn’t inherently awful that YouTube uses AI to recommend video for you, because if the AI is well tuned it can help you get what you want. This would be amazing,” Chaslot told TNW. “But the problem is that the AI isn’t built to help you get what you want — it’s built to get you addicted to YouTube. Recommendations were designed to waste your time.”[20]

Although the article was used to name "conspiracy theorists" as resulting consequences of allowing these algorithms, both sides of the spectrum have access to social media outlets where they can get support for their opinions, with examples being Gab, Parler and 4chan and Reddit, TikTok and Twitter on the other side of "political spectrum" and can become the victim of using algorithms keeping them engaged with the site, purely focused on having them on the site and earning the site money, with the site ownership not really caring about the opinions voiced on the site, with Parler - being presented as heaven and new beacon for free speech failing to attract of even integrate ads into the site without Google or Microsoft's help, after the ban of Parler from Apple and Google stores, showing the power of consolidated platforms.[21]

Examples

Recognizable sections are but not limited to; Streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify (a transaction platform, platforming an artist), Social communication platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit (these are platforming a service as innovation platform to get groups together). Travel and accommodation services such as Uber, AirBnB or Booking.com (platforming a service).

Microsoft (as example of an integration platform) is another company that is increasingly difficult to bypass if wanting to be completely avoided, with Microsoft being the main framework behind alternate search engine DuckDuckGo, social media LinkedIn, communication service Skype, the most used work program in offices with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Azure running 85% of the Fortune 500 companies and 715 million other individuals alone.[22]

Concerns

Health

Concerns include the downsides to privatization, Platform workers irregular and long hours, putting them at risk of cardiovascular diseases, platforms focus on flexible and quick service, aiding a very quick award of dopamine for the average user and "gamifying[23]" the livelihoods of employees.[24][25]

Consolidation of big media

Ccm-consolidation.jpg

A good example of what happens when one company owns leading companies in dozens of other market sectors is the Consolidation of corporate media. Google or... actually Alphabet, having integrated in multiple markets[26] by acquiring YouTube, a majority of Twitter's developer products, mobile operating system Android now being on 70% of the world's smartphones, 75% of the world's market share in computer browsers having 2 billion users every month on YouTube and having a ~90% market share in search engines, and a further extremely high market share in online advertising, geographical knowledge[27] and leading in worldwide data collection for website hosts makes Google nearly impossible[28] to avoid and run a successfully website in the world, with censorship on one small platform owned by a multinational having severe implications for the rest of services run with the products of that company.[29][30]

Where a TV or radio station in the previous millennium only faced backslash from the government regulator and a possible judge[31], the current group of sites giving a platform and being able to cut off access to a site now also include, the Internet service provider[32], the server host[33], the search engine[34][35] and the social media platform being used to promote the site. Those sites are nearly always part of the same 5 big tech enterprises, and are increasingly part of the same business, stimulating the effectiveness of censorship & cancel culture[36].[37]

Learned helplessness

Another method is the increased opportunity given to inhabitants to rent goods and services, ranging from cars, TVs, bikes to (digital) toys. The fact that an increasingly part of the population is renting out because they can't buy the product as they become wage slaves or debt slaves is often downplayed.[38]

As most of the public has trusted websites to handle their most trivial activities (such as on Instagram, which is part of Facebook since 2012), the companies behind them own so much information and intelligence on how to use the data that it soon can become the target of power grabs by deep politicians and deep states, achieving a Global control grid. An example of this is Cambridge Analytica, who spent the 2010s gathering Facebook user data and selling it back to governments and deep state factions.

Civil Unrest

AirBnB has been accused of "destroying cities worldwide" by stimulating investors to buy up apartments, split the rooms into separate houses and sell them to tourists the whole year round, therefore making it harder for locals to use the local house market and creating social tension by lowering social cohesion with complains of different kinds of pollution.[39][40] AirBnB was noted to increase[41] the violent crime[42] rate in cities as communities lost social cohesion, with AirBnB being reported of paying $50.000.000 in sexual assault settlements alone.[43]

Usage in Corporate Media

Black Mirror is a UK science fiction anthology series. The program explored technology and its "side effects". In a season 3 episode of the series, called Nosedive, people are rating all their social interactions with others, affecting the person's socio economical status, which causes negatively reviewed persons to be limited in buying better apartments or other services. The episode soon gathered critics to compare it to China's Social Credit system, not explaining the 60% of US employers increasingly similar ways according to a article from the Brigham Young-University[44][45]



References

  1. https://www.upchain.com/blog/saas-platform-plm-platformization/
  2. https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/9/striking_driver_speaks_out_uber_lyft
  3. https://corporateeurope.org/en/pressreleases/2018/05/airbnb-lobbies-eu-fight-cities-attempts-protect-affordable-housing
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339727028_The_Platformisation_of_Work_in_Europe_Results_from_research_in_13_European_countries
  5. https://www.wired.com/story/machines-shouldnt-have-to-spy-on-us-to-learn/
  6. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20201008STO88810/why-does-the-eu-want-to-regulate-the-platform-economy
  7. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwju_puT2YjyAhUKC-wKHXRiBtAQFjAEegQIBBAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fforbestechcouncil%2F2016%2F06%2F22%2Fhow-to-succeed-with-a-platform-business-model%2F&usg=AOvVaw1437cWSIg5GvvvQZYztIeN
  8. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/26/560136311/how-5-tech-giants-have-become-more-like-governments-than-companies
  9. https://innovator.news/the-platform-economy-3c09439b56
  10. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/platform-economy-boon-or-doom/
  11. https://www.upchain.com/blog/saas-platform-plm-platformization/ Upchain
  12. a b c INSEAD
  13. https://www.foxnews.com/media/liberal-media-members-deprogramming-deplatforming-trump-supporters
  14. https://themarkup.org/google-the-giant/2021/04/09/how-we-discovered-googles-social-justice-blocklist-for-youtube-ad-placements
  15. https://www.nme.com/news/black-mirrors-nosedive-episode-become-reality-china-2263309
  16. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/26/560136311/how-5-tech-giants-have-become-more-like-governments-than-companies NPR
  17. https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-tracking-how-to-stop-it/
  18. https://www.inquisitek.com/post/data-mining-how-much-does-big-tech-know-about-you
  19. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/not-even-the-people-who-write-algorithms-really-know-how-they-work/406099/
  20. https://thenextweb.com/news/youtube-recommendations-toxic-algorithm-google-ai
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parler#Funding
  22. https://www.channelfutures.com/cloud-2/microsoft-azure-s-evangelist-120000-new-subscribers-monthly
  23. https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/04/07/the-gig-economy-flexible-freedom-or-wage-slavery
  24. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/04/has-dopamine-got-us-hooked-on-tech-facebook-apps-addiction
  25. https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.envint.2021.106595
  26. https://www.quora.com/How-powerful-is-Google-Inc
  27. <https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/24/16801334/google-maps-justin-obeirne-cartographer-apple-waymo
  28. https://www.quora.com/How-powerful-is-Google-Inc
  29. https://www.dw.com/en/has-googles-data-collection-gone-too-far/a-49531478
  30. https://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/09/opinion/ghitis-google-privacy/index.html
  31. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_v._Pacifica_Foundation
  32. https://www.somo.nl/how-big-tech-is-becoming-the-government/
  33. https://www.jipitec.eu/issues/jipitec-6-2-2015/4271
  34. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/09/19/goog-s19.html
  35. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/16/google-penalizes-right-wing-sites-323846
  36. https://www.corbettreport.com/mission-accomplished-the-corbett-report-removed-from-youtube/
  37. https://www.somo.nl/how-big-tech-is-becoming-the-government/
  38. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jun/09/renting-bills-tenants
  39. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/airbnb-affordable-housing-gentrification-tourism-fairbnb_n_5c5949c3e4b00187b554828d
  40. https://www.ft.com/content/2fe06a7c-cb2a-11e9-af46-b09e8bfe60c0
  41. https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/07/15/airbnb-raises-violent-crime-rates-in-cities-as-long-term-residents-are-pushed-out-says-us-
  42. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19475683.2020.1831603
  43. https://nypost.com/2021/06/20/how-airbnb-keeps-its-dirtiest-secrets-out-of-the-news/
  44. https://universe.byu.edu/2019/05/13/social-media-presence-impacts-job-opportunities-professional-success/
  45. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosedive_(Black_Mirror)#Comparisons_to_Social_Credit_System