Class No. 11 (Is Facebook a monopoly?)

“But with … incredible growth came new problems.” –Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires, Ch. 22.

In our next class, we will debate whether Facebook is an illegal monopoly. After all, Facebook is the most popular social network in the world by far. (Consider, by way of example, the following startling statistics: the number of active Facebook users surpassed one billion in 2012, and there are now almost two billion active users on Facebook as of June 30, 2016. Active users are those which have logged into Facebook during the last 30 days.) So, given the massive amounts of data Facebook collects from its users, should Facebook be treated as a “monopoly” in the legal sense, or should our antitrust authorities just leave the social media giant alone? What about Mark Zuckerberg’s recent acquisitions of Instagram and the popular instant-messaging service WhatsApp? Do these acquisitions reduce or harm competition in the social media market, and how should this market be defined?

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Image credit: therapfest.com

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