Is Mark Zuckerberg becoming Theodore Vail, the AT&T president who turned the company into Ma Bell about a century ago? It looks like it. And consumers and social media may be the worse for it.
Mr. Zuckerberg's recent endorsement of greater internet regulation would make Mr. Vail proud. In the face of growing calls for burdensome regulations and even the breakup of this company, the Facebook chief has proposed a government oversight of Facebook user content, government standards for political advertising, the adoption European-style privacy regulations, as well as new government regulations for transferring user-related data across social media sites. These mirror nicely the way Vail mollified AT&T's critics, unified the industry, and protected AT&T from more onerous regulations.