Facebook must be broken up

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Facebook Must Be Broken Up: Federal Trade Commission Files Antitrust Lawsuit
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and an alliance of attorneys general from 48 states and territories filed a pair of stinging antitrust lawsuits on Wednesday against Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), asking that the company be broken up.

The government's case revolves around Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The lawsuit claims the tech giant bought rivals to eliminate competition. The filing also cites Facebook's attempts to acquire other popular platforms, including Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat. The FTC is asking for a permanent injunction that could force the social media platform to divest Instagram and WhatsApp.
"Since toppling early rival Myspace and achieving monopoly power, Facebook has turned to playing defense through anticompetitive means," the FTC wrote in its lawsuit. "After identifying two significant competitive threats to its dominant position -- Instagram and WhatsApp -- Facebook moved to squelch those threats by buying the companies." The complaint went on to cite a 2008 email in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg allegedly said, "It is better to buy than compete."
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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100% okay with this, although it doesn't fix what I consider to be the more important thing that's wrong with Facebook.
 
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If Microsoft is any indication it will be a very long time till there are results. The first inquiry was in 1992. The final settlement was made in 2004.
 
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Microsoft's case should have produced criminal charges for company officers. Not for antitrust, but for the browser/desktop integration and the viral ecosystem it created.

If Microsoft is any example, Facebook will do something criminally stupid to try and make it impossible to break it up.
 
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If Microsoft is any example, Facebook will do something criminally stupid to try and make it impossible to break it up.
They've already done this in part with the advertising and business services they have being tied into all their products.
 

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Not only Facebook, but also Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple.
The difference is, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple ALL have competition, sometimes each other. But no one else really has anything like Facebook. Also, it is I believe? known that the sole motive for buying Instagram was to squash competition. So, its not just they are a big company but that they purposefully violated anti-trust laws.
 
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Jolene Benoir

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Not only Facebook, but also Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple.
I would add Disney, as well. They're not a tech company per se, but that merger with Fox should NEVER have been allowed. There are others, particularly in our food market.

It's as if after the breakup of Ma Bell, this country gave up on anti-trust laws.


 
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By "criminally stupid" I mean the browser/desktop/email/application integration of the same HTML control that not only made a single security hole a backdoor for all the apps, but created whole new classes of security holes that never existed before. They basically launched a whole virus ecosystem.

Changing how the divisions served ads is trivial by comparison. There's plenty of room for new criminal stupidity.
 
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The difference is, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple ALL have competition, sometimes each other. But no one else really has anything like Facebook. Also, it is I believe? known that the sole motive for buying Instagram was to squash competition. So, its not just they are a big company but that they purposefully violated anti-trust laws.
Ummm... no!

Let me explain my reasons:

Microsoft: de facto monopol on desktop operating systems with almost 87%, monopol on office software.
=> Should be broken into at least two companies, one for operating systems only and one for the rest which are not connected with each other.
Google: by far means the leading ad agency with attached global search engine, err search engine and having the standard browser and owner ship, Chrome.
=> anti trust case already on its way, maybe Chrome will be moved into another company, because Google uses Chrome nowadays as Microsoft used Internet Explorer back then to Netscape Navigator.
Amazon: market leader in e-commerce of many countries world wide, with domestic market shares >= 50%. Simply put way too much power in one company.
Apple: very wealthy company, pays only a ridiculous amount of taxes though, too much power in one company.

And indeed the US DoJ recommends actions against all of these companies.
 

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=> anti trust case already on its way, maybe Chrome will be moved into another company, because Google uses Chrome nowadays as Microsoft used Internet Explorer back then to Netscape Navigator.
Not even vaguely. In the early '90s there was actually a market for browsers as purchased products. Microsoft undercut that market by bundling the browser, and discouraged the use of other products (and continues to do so). There is no such market now, there are multiple not just free but open source browsers available, one of which is Chromium, the open source equivalent of Chrome. This is the exact opposite of the proprietary (and ultimately dangerous) use of IE in Windows.
 

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Ummm... no!

Let me explain my reasons:

Microsoft: de facto monopol on desktop operating systems with almost 87%, monopol on office software.
=> Should be broken into at least two companies, one for operating systems only and one for the rest which are not connected with each other.
Google: by far means the leading ad agency with attached global search engine, err search engine and having the standard browser and owner ship, Chrome.
=> anti trust case already on its way, maybe Chrome will be moved into another company, because Google uses Chrome nowadays as Microsoft used Internet Explorer back then to Netscape Navigator.
Amazon: market leader in e-commerce of many countries world wide, with domestic market shares >= 50%. Simply put way too much power in one company.
Apple: very wealthy company, pays only a ridiculous amount of taxes though, too much power in one company.

And indeed the US DoJ recommends actions against all of these companies.
Good to know Apple doesn't make computers and desktop operating systems.

Good to know Samsung and Motorola [and others] don't make cell phones and tablets.

So, uhmmm... no! right back?
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Not even vaguely. In the early '90s there was actually a market for browsers as purchased products. Microsoft undercut that market by bundling the browser, and discouraged the use of other products (and continues to do so). There is no such market now, there are multiple not just free but open source browsers available, one of which is Chromium, the open source equivalent of Chrome. This is the exact opposite of the proprietary (and ultimately dangerous) use of IE in Windows.
Well, Chrome is nowadays the de facto standard. It is well known and documented that when Microsoft introduced their first iteration of the Edge viewer with Windows 10, which was still based on a rendering engine owned and programmed by Microsoft, Google tweaked Youtube in a non standard way that it worked really slowly with Edge, but not with Chrome. And every time Microsoft countered that, Google tweaked both again.

This went on until Microsoft finally decided to switch on Chromium. So indeed Google abusing their power and influence on the market here. Another thing is that due to being number one on the market if they decide that suddenly stuff should be that way on the internet, you can either obey or parish.

The thing why Apple might face antitrust actions is the app store, and its monopoly on it. Already having to give up 30% on all income is a hard thing for app developers. But it's really getting nasty when you are developing apps and publishing them on the app store, where Apple suddenly decides to sell the same services as well.

Best example would be music streaming, Spotify vs. Apple Music. Spotify wants to be on the app store and on the platform. By being there, they also have to pay Apple the usual cut, meaning they need to fund their own competitor just to be able to be on the platform. Same with Deezer, Tidal, Qubuz and so on.

And of course such stuff has implications worthwile anti trust examinations as well.
 

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Well, Chrome is nowadays the de facto standard. It is well known and documented that when Microsoft introduced their first iteration of the Edge viewer with Windows 10, which was still based on a rendering engine owned and programmed by Microsoft, Google tweaked Youtube in a non standard way that it worked really slowly with Edge, but not with Chrome. And every time Microsoft countered that, Google tweaked both again.
And yet Firefox and Safari didn't have a problem.
 

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It's as if after the breakup of Ma Bell, this country gave up on anti-trust laws.
It sure seems like it doesn't it?

And it's not like corporations have found "new" and "sneaky" ways of creating monopolies. It's the exact same shenanigans as back in the old days. The government just plain stopped prosecuting.
 

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This seems a helpful analysis of the complaint against Facebook

 

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Quite a few of my conservative friends on FB keep posting that they are going to parlour, or as I like to call it, Mein Space.

We've seen this happen with conservatives over and over. It happened multiple times with 4channers. Reddit split off into Voat. The intellectual dark web... the list goes on. They were splitting off into their own little separatist safe spaces back in the newsgroup days. They always fail, although it is interesting to lurk in places like that to see them fight among themselves. With no liberals to trigger, they troll each other, which can be pretty funny.

I don't think they can hurt FB like that, though. The only thing I can think of that will hurt the social networks, as they now stand, is new browser technology. This is probably an absurd idea, but I think social network business models hinge on identity, and identity is a thing that can be destroyed with better browser technology.

I think that if you made a browser, from the ground up, not dependent on Google or Mozilla, and it had good, reliable containers built in to it, with persona management, that could take off. In other words, take all the cookies and fingerprinting data, and make it specific to a single web site, or maybe domain. Mangle the metadata so fingerprinting is extremely difficult. Then give people ways to compartmentalize a site multiple times, so they can have multiple facebook accounts, that look unique. You can do this now with the Account Containers and Ad Nauseum plugins on Firefox. I use it to change between a few different accounts on reddit as easily as I open a new tab. It's just right click > open as persona A or open as persona B. It would probably be more secure and efficient if this technology was built into the browser at a lower level than a couple of plugins, though.

People would use this browser for privacy, and to have multiple identities on multiple platforms, so they could not easily be censored. As it is now, if FB doesn't like something you post enough to shut down your account, you're fucked. You can start all over again, but that's difficult. With multiple accounts, people with unpopular or stupid opinions can run roughshod over posting rules. The conservatives would obviously love this, but the privacy advocates, the liberal free speech advocates (there are still a few of us out here!), and people being persecuted in places like China would also jump on board.

Letting people troll harder might not be a good thing, but at the same time, the users of this new browser would be fucking over advertisers who demand more and more granular control over our news feeds, because they want to shape our reality. They can't do that if we destroy their ability to tag us and stalk us. They can't target their ads if they can't fingerprint their users.

Once the social networks start hemorrhaging money because advertising dried up and, they can't control what their users post, then it's just a waiting game as they circle the drain like AOL. People will get tired of untargeted ads, and posts from trolls. New competitors who aren't so Machaeavellian in their pursuit of revenue will pop up and replace them.