TIM STENOVEC: Joining us now is Jason Moser,
TIM STENOVEC: a senior analyst at The Motley Fool.
TIM STENOVEC: Uh, Jason, given everything we know about Peter Thiel,
TIM STENOVEC: his relationship with Facebook,
TIM STENOVEC: Palantir, um, should this- [OVERLAPPING]
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Trump.
TIM STENOVEC: His relationship with Trump, thank you.
TIM STENOVEC: Um, what's your reaction initially to,
TIM STENOVEC: uh, President Trump's announcement,
TIM STENOVEC: that tweet this morning?
JASON MOSER: Well, I mean, I think Tim, you,
JASON MOSER: you made a couple of important points there, um,
JASON MOSER: in, in Thiel's, uh, relationship with Facebook.
JASON MOSER: Obviously, he is on the board at Facebook
JASON MOSER: and we know his political leanings of course,
JASON MOSER: because he's, he's, uh, not held back, back either.
JASON MOSER: Perhaps he's exhausted, uh,
JASON MOSER: hearing Facebook
JASON MOSER: getting dragged through the mud day in and
JASON MOSER: day out because Facebook really
JASON MOSER: has been a punching bag for,
JASON MOSER: uh, such a long time for,
JASON MOSER: for the privacy reasons that
JASON MOSER: we've been talking about for, for so long.
JASON MOSER: Uh, so sometimes when you get tired hearing,
JASON MOSER: uh, your company getting dragged through the mud,
JASON MOSER: the easiest thing to do is to deflect
JASON MOSER: and try to put the attention elsewhere.
JASON MOSER: And I mean, on the one hand,
JASON MOSER: it is always worth considering that
JASON MOSER: these are big companies with big networks.
JASON MOSER: When we're talking about Facebook
JASON MOSER: and Alphabet, Twitter, all,
JASON MOSER: all of these companies that,
JASON MOSER: that have these global presences
JASON MOSER: where all this information,
JASON MOSER: uh, changes hands every second.
JASON MOSER: Uh, but I mean,
JASON MOSER: treason is a very,
JASON MOSER: very serious word here.
JASON MOSER: Uh, so I think you need to be very careful when you use
JASON MOSER: that language to at least have something to back it up.
JASON MOSER: I mean, according to Google,
JASON MOSER: they are not, uh,
JASON MOSER: pursuing markets in China.
JASON MOSER: As a matter of fact, I think they had
JASON MOSER: some employees last year
JASON MOSER: that protested that very Dragonfly Project,
JASON MOSER: uh, so they shut that down.
JASON MOSER: It does seem like Alphabet as a company,
JASON MOSER: is trying to steer away from
JASON MOSER: those polarizing types of positions.
JASON MOSER: So whether that's helping the US military
JASON MOSER: or pursuing a market in China, I,
JASON MOSER: I just- it kinda feels like
JASON MOSER: the pot calling the kettle black to a degree
JASON MOSER: because it's- you know not that long ago we had a lot of
JASON MOSER: people accusing Facebook of treason in some capacity.
JASON MOSER: It's, uh, very interesting times I guess.
TIM STENOVEC: I mean- interesting times. Let's not forget the,
TIM STENOVEC: the bombshell report uh,
TIM STENOVEC: in The New York Times last year,
TIM STENOVEC: talking about the way that Facebook had
TIM STENOVEC: secret data sharing agreement with handset makers;
TIM STENOVEC: including none other than Huawei, a,
TIM STENOVEC: a company that President Trump
TIM STENOVEC: has called a national security threat.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Right.
TIM STENOVEC: I mean, this is out of control.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Speaks perfectly to- deals on motivations,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: right, as a board member of Facebook.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Jason, what I'm wondering is,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: for a company like Google,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: broadly for these tech companies,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: but let's focus on Google right now.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Do you think the analyst community is
KRISTEN SCHOLER: pricing in this political risk,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: that this could send the stock
KRISTEN SCHOLER: lower that lawmakers could step in and try to
KRISTEN SCHOLER: break up these companies
KRISTEN SCHOLER: and that the Trump administration
KRISTEN SCHOLER: might have its way in considering Google treasonous?
JASON MOSER: Uh, I would say
JASON MOSER: speaking on behalf of the analyst community,
JASON MOSER: at least from my perspective,
JASON MOSER: we've kind of become numb to this kind of stuff.
JASON MOSER: I mean, years ago we always
JASON MOSER: talked about geopolitical risk when it came
JASON MOSER: to- when it comes to certain companies and you have
JASON MOSER: to acknowledge that's always going to exist.
JASON MOSER: It seems like over the past three years or so
JASON MOSER: no company has been immune, uh,
JASON MOSER: to the tirades of this current administration,
JASON MOSER: and so I do think the market prices is in to a degree.
JASON MOSER: I think the market also recognizes that this, perhaps,
JASON MOSER: is more of a short term issue that will
JASON MOSER: likely be resolved with a change over, uh,
JASON MOSER: i- in, in the administration whenever that happens,
JASON MOSER: whether it happens in 2020 or 2024.
JASON MOSER: Uh, I think that we wait- we,
JASON MOSER: we haven't- we more heavily weigh
JASON MOSER: these businesses on their strengths.
JASON MOSER: Whether it's Facebook in the size of the network,
JASON MOSER: or whether it's Google and the,
JASON MOSER: the quality of the search.
JASON MOSER: I mean, I'll say I get Facebook and Alphabet are both
JASON MOSER: recommendations in my augmented reality service here.
JASON MOSER: And while I keep an eye on these,
JASON MOSER: these types of issues,
JASON MOSER: they certainly don't affect my longer term thesis
JASON MOSER: with the businesses as we see their pursuits in tech,
JASON MOSER: whether it's visual intelligence
JASON MOSER: or augmented reality or anything like that.
JASON MOSER: So these are geopolitical concerns that
JASON MOSER: will resolve themselves in time I believe.
JASON MOSER: Uh, but there's no question, it
JASON MOSER: creates a little chaos in the near-term.
TIM STENOVEC: Yeah, and, and, and I think it's fair to say apart from,
TIM STENOVEC: um, President Trump's most recent tweets on the subject,
TIM STENOVEC: uh, it comes at a time where
TIM STENOVEC: big tech is under scrutiny uh,
TIM STENOVEC: from lawmakers for various reasons.
TIM STENOVEC: Name the company and we can,
TIM STENOVEC: we can name the reason.
TIM STENOVEC: Uh, what is broadly speaking of
TIM STENOVEC: regulatory risk to big tech right now?
JASON MOSER: Well, I mean, the question- I
JASON MOSER: think the discussion has always
JASON MOSER: been it's revolved around antitrust,
JASON MOSER: and- and frankly, I think that's a bit misguided.
JASON MOSER: I think that when you look at
JASON MOSER: these companies and what they're doing today,
JASON MOSER: the services that they're providing to us,
JASON MOSER: I mean they're- they're wonderful services in many cases.
JASON MOSER: And in most every case,
JASON MOSER: we're not really even paying for it.
JASON MOSER: Uh, so I think that really the discussion needs
JASON MOSER: to center more around privacy,
JASON MOSER: and I think that's the near term risk for
JASON MOSER: these companies as they sort of make their way
JASON MOSER: through that landscape so to speak and try
JASON MOSER: to deal with these issues on
JASON MOSER: privacy and how they're going to cope,
JASON MOSER: uh, with these privacy concerns
JASON MOSER: going forward because you know,
JASON MOSER: on the one hand,
JASON MOSER: we do want our privacy,
JASON MOSER: we wanna know that some
JASON MOSER: things that we're doing out there,
JASON MOSER: I mean, are not going to be put under a microscope,
JASON MOSER: uh, but by the same token, you know,
JASON MOSER: a lot of people were living their lives
JASON MOSER: on Facebook every day,
JASON MOSER: and Facebook is not twisting their arm to do that.
JASON MOSER: So what is a reasonable expectation there?
JASON MOSER: I'm not sure.
JASON MOSER: Everybody's using Google Maps, and Waze,
JASON MOSER: and Google search every day,
JASON MOSER: but what is a reasonable expectation for privacy there?
JASON MOSER: I think we need to figure that out that to
JASON MOSER: me is- is the near term regulatory risk,
JASON MOSER: not so much an antitrust case.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: I assume. Okay. Speaking of antitrust,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: um, even though you think the focus
KRISTEN SCHOLER: is different and more on privacy,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: we are getting this antitrust hearing
KRISTEN SCHOLER: later today and this is when lawmakers are going
KRISTEN SCHOLER: to basically map out
KRISTEN SCHOLER: the investigations going on
KRISTEN SCHOLER: into the biggest tech companies,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: uh, that actually is not getting the headlines
KRISTEN SCHOLER: today that the leework hearing with Facebook,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: uh, and Mr. Marcus
KRISTEN SCHOLER: is the one that is leading the headlines.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: But when we get that- that hearing later today,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: are there certain questions,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: certain points that you're focused in on in terms of what
KRISTEN SCHOLER: these probes might reveal about
KRISTEN SCHOLER: these tech companies and what it
KRISTEN SCHOLER: could mean for their business.
JASON MOSER: You know honestly, I- I mean,
JASON MOSER: I think we've been talking
JASON MOSER: a lot about this Facebook fine, right?
JASON MOSER: They were just fined five billion dollars
JASON MOSER: worthy FTC for this privacy,
JASON MOSER: uh, bungle from a time ago.
JASON MOSER: One thing I've- I've come to believe is,
JASON MOSER: that, you know, when we talk about punishments,
JASON MOSER: typically a punishment is made in order
JASON MOSER: to alter or change a certain behavior.
JASON MOSER: And in this case,
JASON MOSER: whether you're talking about Facebook
JASON MOSER: or Amazon or Alphabet,
JASON MOSER: I don't know that there really is
JASON MOSER: a monetary fine that will change their behavior.
JASON MOSER: Not unless you add a couple of
JASON MOSER: zeros to that five billion number.
JASON MOSER: So really, I think it needs to be
JASON MOSER: less about a monetary fine,
JASON MOSER: and more about coming up with a simple framework and
JASON MOSER: understanding of what these companies
JASON MOSER: will do with our data,
JASON MOSER: what we can expect as consumers, and you know,
JASON MOSER: I- I just saw something a-
JASON MOSER: across the Twitter feed a little while ago,
JASON MOSER: where Amazon actually was explic- explicitly
JASON MOSER: offering customers 10 dollars for access to their data,
JASON MOSER: and saying, hey listen,
JASON MOSER: we want to do some more stuff with
JASON MOSER: your data to make your experience better,
JASON MOSER: and of course we're gonna do
JASON MOSER: some- some additional things with it,
JASON MOSER: like send you different marketing, uh,
JASON MOSER: material or whatnot based on your behavior,
JASON MOSER: but it was very explicit.
JASON MOSER: They were saying, you- were going to give you
JASON MOSER: $10 in exchange for this.
JASON MOSER: So I think just making it a bit more
JASON MOSER: transparent in
JASON MOSER: understanding our protections as consumers.
JASON MOSER: I- I'd really like to
JASON MOSER: see them dig into that because I feel
JASON MOSER: like the monetary fund's completely missed the point.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Um.
TIM STENOVEC: Uh, Jason Moser a senior analyst at The Motley Fool.
TIM STENOVEC: I anticipate that Amazon will likely
TIM STENOVEC: get significant interest by offering money for that data.
TIM STENOVEC: I mean, consumers I don't think are educated
TIM STENOVEC: typically about what these companies are
TIM STENOVEC: doing with their data or they don't care. [OVERLAPPING]
JASON MOSER: Like just $10. I don't know,
JASON MOSER: I'm hanging up on the $10 figure.
JASON MOSER: That's- that's, uh, a small amount of money.
TIM STENOVEC: Yeah.
KRISTEN SCHOLER: Jason, [OVERLAPPING] we don't mean to cut you
KRISTEN SCHOLER: off here but we do have to go,
KRISTEN SCHOLER: [LAUGHTER] [OVERLAPPING] uh, we wish we could
KRISTEN SCHOLER: keep talking about this.
TIM STENOVEC: Always great to see you Jason,
TIM STENOVEC: thanks for joining us on this today.
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