Facebook, FTC, Instagram discussed on Reset
The federal trade commission a group of forty eight attorney generals are suing facebook in lawsuits that they filed on wednesday alleged that the social network has violated anti-trust laws and is a monopoly. There remedy break the company up. Rebecca ohio is you're talking about. Hey rebecca hey so not a brand new idea right. Obviously there have been a lot of politicians most notably elizabeth warren who called for breaking up facebook. Mark zuckerberg has been stressing about this probably since around. Then so like. What's the big deal about these lawsuits particular. I mean this isn't just politicians yapping. Tell me what these lawsuits are trying to do. These lawsuits are important. Because they're asking a court to take the action of essentially forcing facebook to sell both instagram and whatsapp. And if you know the court system decides that's what needs to be done. That's what needs to be done. We don't need republican and democratic lawmakers to agree on it. We don't need a president it would go through the courts so it's potentially a really really powerful tool if it if the court comes up with that conclusion. I think one of the real problems for facebook here is that there are all these communications that both lawsuits talk about that seemed to a pretty damaging picture facebook in terms of how they saw instagram. And what's up one email. That comes up in. One of them is zuckerberg writing after the instagram aquisition. I remember your internal post about how instagram was our threat and knock google plus uber basically right one thing about startups though is that you can often acquire them so you know. This is not a great picture for facebook. The thing is right. Is that the ftc this agency that is co leading these lawsuits against facebook. They approve these acquisitions or at least didn't block them when both of them happened. So why the change now. What exactly does the ftc. No in twenty twenty that they didn't know a decade ago. Well obviously both. The ftc and the attorneys general lawsuits come after lengthy investigations. So the simple answer. This is come because they finished investigating but the proper context is that there's been increasing pressure to take action against big tech especially after twenty sixteen in regard to facebook. These lawsuits also are really focused on the impact that this would have on consumers and users and innovation and essentially the thesis is that we users have suffered in terms of our privacy in terms of our access to different types of social media products because facebook instagram. And what's up. Are all the same thing but legally they need to prove that there was anticompetitive behaviour. Is that right. Neither of us are lawyers. But that's that's the lawsuit is not a political argument right. They're basically trying to argue that the f. t. was not correct in originally approving these acquisitions in that essentially these acquisitions were illegal and have wrongly helped facebook create monopoly from the consumer point of view. I mean obviously a ton of people use facebook people use instagram. People's whatsapp like you know their products that the average consumer uses. Because they like them. So what exactly is the harm to consumers that you think. The ftc will need to illustrate well. One of the main theses of this set of lawsuits is that by having all of these companies together. We've lost out especially in terms of privacy protection and we would probably have better privacy if there was more choice in more options. It's also worth pointing out that. What's that tension here in part is that facebook sees a world in which instagram and whatsapp and facebook facebook. The platform are all more integrated than they were before these acquisitions for users. That might be a good thing but that could also be a bad thing and this raises a real tension in terms of what happens now. Because you know facebook's already in the process of integrating its direct messaging in Instagram and facebook and these are being intertwined as products so the idea is in a hypothetical world facebook and what's up and instagram are all competitors with one another and even if we like the products now that there's some hypothetical privacy protections that we do not enjoy today that we would enjoy on earth too so to speak. Yeah that seems to be the sense and potentially not just instagram and whatsapp. But maybe other companies that could have come about because facebook would have had so much power in this other universe. Okay so mark zuckerberg has described the break-up risk as an existential threat can't imagine being sued by the ftc and almost every ag in the country. What was their reaction to this yeah. They're not thrilled in a blog. Post the company basically called the lawsuits revisionist history and they kind of have a somewhat compelling argument at least on face the ftc had its chance the approved these acquisitions and they're basically saying like if you approve something and you can change your mind. What kind of precedent does this said. Another argument. they're making is that they do have some competition from other apps like tiktok And google as well and in terms of competing for advertising money. Yeah i mean in some ways feels like there's more competition now than you could have argued three or four years ago. The big risk with these lawsuits that they can just drag on for forever right. I wonder in the meantime. How facebook whatsapp. Instagram might change. Yeah i mean experts. I spoke to told me that it's going to be at least until two thousand twenty one. Twenty twenty two. It's gonna be you know very tense. Facebook certainly going to push back and you know this is all happening. While we're getting a new administration that might potentially change what the rules are big tax. Look like of course. There was that big house antitrust report that happened a few months ago that came to similar conclusions in advocated for new legislation. So i think the question now is like dispaced. Book continue with the process of both integrating these features on instagram with facebook. And also how does it continue in terms of all the other acquisitions that it considers and its reputation for copying other apps and copying other features..