Facebook: A Social Media Monopoly

There is no doubt that social media is a large aspect of many peoples’ lives today, but it is also interesting to take note of Facebook’s never-ending desire to own and to control every single social media platform.

Mark Zuckergebrg has been advocating for years to increase consumer interaction and to decrease any need to exit his app. He has made it so that Facebook is personalized to each user and is a main source of information for its users.

Glen Carrie / Unsplash

Mark Zuckergebrg has been advocating for years to increase consumer interaction and to decrease any need to exit his app. He has made it so that Facebook is personalized to each user and is a main source of information for its users.

Since the creation of Facebook, there have been many rifts and conflicts concerning every aspect of it. The mere idea of who invented Facebook has been under question, even entailing a lawsuit in which Mark Zuckerberg paid the Winklevoss twins $65 million and granted Eduardo Saverin 5% of the Facebook company. Today, that is estimated to be a total of $5,065,000,000. 

As of now, Facebook currently has 2.8 billion users, well over a third of the world’s population. To continue to grow this already monumental user base, Facebook has to continuously update and advance to ensure that it is always modern and interesting to users new and old.

On the original platform, all you could do was create a profile with an image and your interests to network. Now, it contains so much more. Users can now message via the Messenger app linked directly to Facebook. They can share videos and images with friends, and others can like these videos. There is now a live streaming option, and even personalized advertisements.

Many would argue that it has come a very long way since its creation in 2004, but Zuckerberg has no intention of stopping here, as he has many ambitions for his platform.

Zuckerberg plans to continue to expand, further than it already has. He plans to acquire more platforms, similar to Instagram and WhatsApp, wanting to gain even more control of what users do in every waking moment of their everyday lives. 

The main thing that is concerning, however, is that Facebook not only wants to acquire these platforms, but they also want to make Facebook even more enticing to users. Zuckerberg wants to make it so that Facebook users never have a reason to leave the app. On the Facebook app, there are already applications that allow you to share videos and pictures, and people are even beginning to share news articles on the app. 

Zuckerberg’s goal at this point is not even to make Facebook more enjoyable, but to hook users. If Zuckerberg is able to successfully fulfill his aim, he and Facebook will be able to take complete control over people’s lives, dictating what information they see, what they think, and why they think it. If his plans are successful it could be potentially very harmful to practically every user’s psychological autonomy. 

There are three major issues with the platform that Facebook provides. Firstly, Facebook makes it very easy to spread propaganda on the internet. Yes, there is freedom of the press, but Facebook censors certain media so that only things they want people to see are available online. For example, if there is controversy about something Facebook has done and someone posts an article related to this controversial matter, Facebook has the authority to take that article down and not allow it to reach the billions of users that information would particularly benefit. 

The second issue is that Facebook has been exercising horizontal integration for years, but legislation has not been keeping up fast enough to regulate such momentous technological growth. There are certain anti-monopoly laws already put in place. However, they are not written to regulate such rapid monopolization, with media apps being bought out and anti-competitive behavior demonstrated. 

The last issue is the sheer size of Facebook. They are so large and well-known that other media platforms are already afraid of them instituting their authority. If Facebook sees a problem they see only two solutions: to either buy out their competitors or dismantle them. We have seen both of these factors at play. Take Instagram, for example. Instagram is a huge platform that millions of people utilize, and this fact became increasingly alarming to Facebook. So what did they do? They bought them. Now, every single time a person opens up Instagram, they see the Facebook name plastered at the bottom of their screen. Once again, this is an attempt to engrain Facebook into another aspect of everyday life. 

Zuckerberg’s pursuit of these many other media platforms seems somewhat suspicious, raising questions as to why he wants Facebook to continue on a journey that will reestablish its position as a social media monopoly. The rate of growth at which we have witnessed in the case of Facebook is unprecedented and should not be underestimated, as Zuckerberg has yet to show signs of halting said growth.

However, such behavior has not gone unnoticed. Currently, Facebook has been sued by 49 U.S. Attorney Generals, among whom is New York State Attorney General Letitia James, for violating antitrust laws.

Antitrust laws are put into place to protect consumers from predatory business behaviors and to ensure fair competition amongst competing businesses and organizations. 

When interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek about the antitrust Facebook lawsuit, New York State Attorney General Letitia James said, “We want Facebook to stop its anticompetitive conduct and undo the harm it’s caused. Facebook’s monopoly hurts consumers, it hurts the marketplace, [and] it hurts advertisers.”

Facebook’s growth seems exponential, but with increased awareness, its misconduct is slowly being revealed. We have yet to see the full extent of Zuckerberg’s plans for Facebook, but we should not neglect to stay aware, as in this day and age, it is very easy to trade one issue for another, fully disregarding the prior issue. 

If Facebook sees a problem they see only two solutions: to either buy out their competitors or dismantle them.

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