by Eric Tiler Corman, Bricklyn Eagle Political News correspondent
July 9, 2021
Summary of article ➤ In an unexpected ruling, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn has banned Facebrick from the Realm due to monopolistic practices & abuse of privacy. Reactions to the ruling and next steps.
In an unexpected action, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn (FCRB) has just issued a ruling (by a 5-2 vote) mandating the termination of Facebrick’s services within the Tripartite Realm of Bricklyn.
The Council’s decision only applies to Facebrick, not to Facebook (the parent company). Facebrick has been operating a Bricklyn-only network since 2016, as Bricklyn has long restricted access to Outland networks. But unanswered questions remain over whether the Council’s ruling also applies to Bricklyn citizens trying to connect to the global Facebook social network at The Exchange.📍
📍For some background about The Exchange, see “When Bricklyn Pulled the Plug.”
Council Finds Monopoly and Privacy Violations
According to Council President Hilma Plater-Zybrick, “the ruling centers not just on violations of Bricklyn anti-trust laws, but also on concerns over infractions of Bricklyn’s privacy regulations.”
One of the examples of anti-competitive behavior cited by the Council was Facebrick’s 2020 acquisition of the fledgling social media app WeBricks, “snuffing out a potential competitor,” the Council’s ruling said.
As to privacy, the Council found Facebrick repeatedly failed to tell customers of its sharing of personal data with third parties, and also engaged in other “systematic privacy breaches.”
The Council cited Facebrick’s failure to address these issues, despite repeated warnings from Bricklyn regulators.
Facebrick supporters claim that the company is being unduly tarred with accusations being made in some Outland countries against Facebook, and that Facebrick is a good corporate citizen, providing valued social media services to Bricklynites.
Replying to these critics, Council President Plater-Zybrick said that: “Regardless of Facebook’s practices in the Outland world, the Council’s ruling was solely based on Facebrick’s practices within the Realm of Bricklyn.”
Plater-Zybrick has been considered a long-time “skeptic” of Facebrick, but that she could convince four other Council members to join her in ruling against Facebrick remains a surprise. When asked, Plater-Zybrick would only say, “What became clear to most of us was the egregious nature of Facebrick’s violations. What’s more, we received a statement of support for the actions we were considering from the Chief Prognosticator, always an important consideration in major rulings by the Council.”📍
📍 By long standing Bricklyn tradition, the Chief Prognosticator of the Realm can be called in for an in camera meeting with the Federal Council when the Council is considering taking actions that may have “high significance for the future of The Realm of Bricklyn.” The decision to call for the Chief Prognosticator can be made by either the Council President, or by vote of a majority of Council members. The current Chief Prognosticator is David Bricks.
Facebrick Supporters Attack Council Decision
Bill B. Butler, who represents South Bricklyn, was one of the two dissenters on the Federal Council. When asked about the ruling, Butler said: “Facebrick is a great resource for Bricklyn. It gives people what they want, which is why virtually everyone who wants to be socially networked uses it. What’s more, most folks don’t give a hoot about their so-called privacy, as long as they can easily network with their family and friends.”
As Butler added, “if Facebrick did happen to violate our laws, what that means is we need to re-examine and change our laws so that Facebrick can quickly resume operations here in Bricklyn. I’m sure that’s what most Bricklynites would want.”
Representatives of Facebrick could not be reached for comment. An appeal of the decision to the Chief Magistrate’s Court, along with a request for a Stay of the mandate, are possible. However, given the fact that the ruling received the endorsement of Chief Prognosticator Bricks, most legal analysts view it as unlikely that the Court would hear an appeal (the Court has discretion on whether to accept appeals of Federal Council decisions).
Public to be Polled
There has been little opinion polling on the Facebrick question, but Bricklyn Eagle Editor Whitman, along with TV 3 Managing Editor Frank Smallbrick, have just announced they will be teaming up on a poll in the coming weeks to gauge public reaction to the ruling.✥
➤ Note from Bricklyn Eagle Editor Walt Brickman: Unfortunately, as Editor, I must offer an apology. As you may know, The Bricklyn Eagle just recently launched a Facebook page for Outlanders. In fact, some of you have already “liked” it. We are seeking clarification from officials at the FCRB if this page must be taken down in light of the ruling, or whether it can remain available to our Outland readers. All I can say right now is, stay tuned! But rest assured, we at The Bricklyn Eagle will continue to provide you with unbiased news reporting, despite our having used Facebrick and Facebook for our business.
➤ Note from Reporter Corman: As mentioned in our article, Outland policies and laws were apparently not taken into consideration by the Bricklyn Federal Council in its Facebrick ruling. Having said that, readers may find it of interest that U.S. President Joe Biden, in remarks given today (coincidentally the same day as the Council’s ruling), said that: “We are now 40 years into the experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power … and what have we gotten from it? Less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses. … I believe the experiment failed.” As Biden observed, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation.” See “Biden launches assault on monopolies,” POLITICO (July 9, 2021).