The Circle: Fact/Fiction

‘The Circle’ is the new movie starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson… about a greedy tech company that wants access to all your personal data.


[CLIP: ’The Circle’]

‘The Circle’ is the new movie starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks about Internet privacy.

[CLIP: ’The Circle’]

Watson plays Mae Holland, a new recruit to ‘The Circle’, a tech company, perhaps modelled on Facebook or Google.

Tom Hanks’ character heads the company. His appearances are not un-coincidentally reminiscent of Apple’s Steve Job or Mark Zuckerberg.

The company invents a new eyeball-sized camera that becomes ubiquitous, filming everbody doing everything virtually everywhere. The central questions asked are: should anything remain private.. and can we trust these big tech companies with our information?
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In the real world, Facebook and Google face the same questions about privacy and security. Two billion people now have a Facebook account, which means Zuckerberg & Co. have access to more data than most governments.

Yet these companies are not regulated by any agency in the world. They pay negligible corporation tax anywhere, while exploiting the content made by others, to whom they pay little or nothing.

Just like ‘The Circle’, Facebook and Google are literally outlaws, who are immensely secretive and non-responsive to media scrutiny.

When Facebook banned this show from its platform before subsequently reinstating it, it refused to explain itself or answer any questions. It begrudgingly issued me a half-hearted “apology for the inconvenience”.

Look. I applaud Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. for their innovation, for their genius, for giving us all the tools to make communication better and easier.

But somewhere between their mom’s garage and Wall Street, innocence was lost. The quest to monetise their websites means idealistic computer geeks are replaced by faceless sharks, for whom the task is to grab those golden eggs before the Goose goes out of fashion.

In ‘The Circle’, people get killed and reputations are ruined… collateral damage as the company grows.

Facebook and Google earned their market dominance fair and square, but there’s no question they are now virtual monopolies, too big, too powerful and a threat to personal liberty. It’s time to use anti trust laws to break them up.

I’m a believer in free market capitalism. I love Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. If you read the ‘Wealth of Nations’, Smith makes clear you can only have a free market if there are many suppliers, not just one or two.

The movie ‘The Circle’ surprisingly, given its cast, does only an average job, perhaps because the facts of real world corporate malfeasance already exceed the fiction it depicts.

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Published by videobite2021

Journalist, broadcaster, media executive, academic, author.