Antitrust Committee Finds Facebook’s Monopoly to be Harmful and Anti-Competitive

Facebook has managed to soar to the very top of the social media industry through a combination of savvy acquisitions of up and coming companies as well as a diversification of its brand, but the social media giant has often come under fire for stifling competition in the industry. With so much criticism being levied at Facebook, various government agencies and institutions began investigating the company, and an antitrust subcomittee in the US House of Representatives has released findings that seem to concur with this viewpoint all in all.

One aspect of Facebook’s business practices that the committee criticized had to do with how it acquired its monopoly. Facebook has relied heavily on copying features and services from up and coming platforms, with both Snapchat and TikTok seeing versions of their unique features suddenly being offered on Facebook and its subsidiaries. More specifically, the committee referred to Facebook as either acquiring its competition, copying from it or doing anything it could to kill it so that it would no longer pose a threat. In this manner, Facebook’s monopoly could be seen as rather underhanded and a sign that the company has not been acting under parameters that could be referred to as ethical.

The acquisition of Instagram is particular has been illuminating in this regard. A lot of people don’t know this but the committee uncovered a conversation that happened between Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom, one of the founders of Instagram, that involved Zuckerberg potentially threatening Systrom in a way. This exchange basically involved Zuckerberg telling Systrom that he could either partner with Facebook by allowing the larger company to buy Instagram or “face the consequences”. What these consequences might have been are unclear, but what is clear is that Facebook was leveraging its growing influence in the nascent industry to bully smaller companies into selling to them.
Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP

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