How tech monopolies changed the web

Adam Ruins Everything's Adam Conover explains CollegeHumor's recent collapse and how tech monopolies have hindered the discovery of independent creators.

The internet ruined everything

Adam Conover of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything got his start on the sketch comedy site CollegeHumor. For 2 decades, CollegeHumor was a launchpad for new voices in comedy — until the changing digital media landscape made its existence increasingly difficult.

What's changed with the media landscape is Facebook and also YouTube

The vision of the internet that we were sold in the late 90s, early 2000s was a fantasy, right? I believed it as much as anybody. "Hey, on the internet, no one knows your dog, right? Anybody can be anything. You can just start making content and people will watch it, you know, meritocracy, the gatekeepers are gone, etc., etc." And we had that for a good, what, 10 years or so, right, until all the large tech companies sprung up that started saying, "Hey, no, we're going to own this Wild West."

With the growth of tech monopolies, it’s become difficult for independent creators to compete

It's essentially been, "Hey, it was the Wild West, it was fun for a while," and then the railroad came through. Right? It's like in any Wild West movie, that's when the dream dies. And the railroad in this case is Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, Twitch, all these sites, right, that have so much power that we are not able to compete with them. If those sites are not allowing competitors to enter the marketplace, because they're refusing to show them in their newsfeed, that is enforceable behavior, enforceable bad behavior that we can prevent, with strenuous antitrust enforcement. So that's what needs to happen. I would say it's unlikely to happen in the current administration. However, it was also unlikely to happen in the previous administration. Obama's Justice Department was also asleep at the wheel on these issues. So, I think we need to see a sea change in how this sort of bad behavior is treated. And we need the Justice Department to start enforcing our antitrust laws.