Social media consumers are getting wise to the joke that when the product is free, they’re the ones being sold. But despite the growing threat of consumer exploitation, Washington still shrinks from confronting our social media giants.

Why?

Because the social giants have convinced the chattering class that America simply can’t do without them. Confront the industry, we’re told, and you might accidentally kill it — and with it, all the innovation it has (supposedly) brought to our society.

Maybe. But maybe social media’s innovations do our country more harm than good. Maybe social media is best understood as a parasite on productive investment, on meaningful relationships, on a healthy society.