Reason Podcast

Why Instapundit Glenn Reynolds Thinks Twitter, Facebook, and Google Should Be Busted Up

The "blogfather" once touted the internet as the antidote to Big Government, Big Business, and Big Media. Now he wants the feds to crack down on social media.


In the beginning, there was Instapundit, one of the web's first great aggregator and commentary sites. Launched in August 2001, the site became massively popular after the 9/11 attacks, when it acted as a clearinghouse for information and commentary from all over the world about what the hell was going on.

The founder of Instapundit is Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee who came to be known as the "blogfather" to many of us then toiling on the border between print and pixels. Always a future-oriented writer and scholar, he called himself a libertarian transhumanist and his optimistic view on cyberculture is summed up by the title of his 2006 best-selling book, An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.

That was then. Reynolds' new book is called The Social Media Upheaval. In it, he makes the case that the federal government should use antitrust law to curtail the cultural, market, and political power amassed by Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other tech companies. In a wide-ranging conversation with Nick Gillespie, Reynolds talks about why he quit Twitter last year, how his thinking has changed regarding the internet, and what he hopes will come next online and elsewhere. He also recounts the earlier, Wild West days of online communities in the 1980s, how a photoshopped joke image kept showing up on his Wikipedia page, and why libertarians seem to gravitate to unconventional diets.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.