Facebook has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. Not only for the data breach recently or the third party data fiasco with Cambridge Analytica, but overall that they use your data maliciously to the point where it’s better they ask for forgiveness than permission as to how they use it. Among my myself and most of my peers, we don’t find Facebook useful. For myself, I don’t have a personal Facebook account because I don’t find Facebook useful. For others, I can see why; it creates a silo for people within the internet that they feel they belong to certain communities and of course friends and family. However for most people, Facebook is their internet. They use it to message friends and family (FB messenger), to showcase their photos (Instagram and Facebook itself) they get their news on there, they blog and vent their feelings.
So at what point do anti-trust issues come in? Who are Facebook’s competitors? I’ve never considered Twitter a competitor but more two sides of the same coin. Every competitor that comes into the picture, Facebook either buys them (Instagram) or copies their feature and pushes them out (Snapchat with stories).
Looking at the list of companies owned by Facebook, the notable ones are WhatsApp, Oculus, and of course Instagram. These three have been big enough that Facebook leaves them to operate alone. The others are more aqua-hire; they fold the company into their own and the team joins them.
Google has had to break apart because they had too many ventures becoming Alphabet. Ventures like Waymo that weren’t profitable (yet) but affect Google’s outlook for stockholders. Microsoft had anti-trust issues in the late 90s but they survived by Apple becoming a viable competitor over time. Google has competitors so that’s a different story and Microsoft isn’t in the same light for consumers as it once was. For Facebook spinning off wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but not a solution at the same time.
Nothing is keeping competitors from stealing market share from Facebook but they can’t because of the “Facebook affect” meaning the people you know are on Facebook so why jump ship to another platform. Path, App.net, Ello have all tried to do social networking right by not using user data . There was also Google+ (RIP) which in my opinion, better than Facebook, it utilized white space that wasn’t cluttered with ads, the circles feature was a good feature but overall, I had better conversations on G+ than Facebook because there were less people than wouldn’t be toxic.
One last thing to keep in mind is Facebook has had to buy companies to stay relevant. Slingshot, Facebook for work, and the Facebook phone have been dead on arrival. So Facebook isn’t necessarily a threat of making their own monopolies.