Facebook is one of the most powerful brands in the world. Thanks to its mysterious algorithm, it managed to add billions of dollars, keep a large part of the market and have a capacity to lobby rarely seen.
It started with software in a Harvard room, but Mark Zuckerberg it was adding functions to its platform. And when he could not or did not know how to improve it, he directly bought or copied the competition.
This was how Facebook added chat services, video playback and several other options. Also, the company he bought hundreds of startups and of companies like Instagram and WhatsApp. Being the owner of these services allowed Facebook to exchange the different data of its users in each platform.
In an interview with The Verge, Tim Wu, one of the leading specialists in the defense of competition in the technology sector, once again stressed the importance of that Facebook is detached from Instagram and WhatsApp.
"What would be the damage? You'll have three competitors." It's not "Oh, my God, if you get rid of WhatsApp and Instagram, then everyone will collapse." It would be like 'Well, now you have some companies that really try to offer you an alternative to Facebook', "said the professor at Columbia University.
I think that if we analyze carefully the Facebook purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, it would be very easy to prove that the effects of those acquisitions affected the competition.
Wu raised, like several specialists, the importance of true competition to encourage innovation in the technology industry.
Reinterpret monopolistic behavior
The main problem with the vision of the current antitrust law is that it has to be demonstrated that after the merger of two companies an increase in prices for consumers is generated. That served in past decades when Standard Oil or AT & T could not buy from other companies.
However, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are free platforms for users. Or almost. Each person who registers and uses each platform is delivering the data to Mark Zuckerberg's company.
Facebook is trying to establish itself as a regulated monopoly in the foreseeable future.
"There is a really profound difference in the kind of innovation you see when people are afraid of disturbing the giant in the face of what you do when you feel you have a real chance.
No one is willing to seriously fund small businesses because they will not be able to move Facebook or Google.
In that sense, Wu stressed the importance of the law prioritizing real competition between companies, as Europe has been doing in recent years. "We have to ask if they are acquiring the other company because of the merits or if they are exceeding the limits of what is considered fair competition."
The lawyer, a specialist in the defense of the competition, focused on the fact that the number of competitors in the social media sector fell after the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp by Facebook.
Unless you think we have to have a dominant teacher of all social networks and it should be Mark Zuckerberg … then there is no good reason not to separate the companies.
"These are corporations," says Wu. "They have subunits." Sometimes corporations split up on their own. It's not so dramatic"he added.