Facebook is now facing a lawsuit from both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and another from 46 different states, that accuse the company of monopolization. The lawsuit claims that Facebook is wrongly buying out competing businesses in order to maintain a high status within social networking. Social media platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp are just a few examples of attempts by Facebook to gain more territory in the digital world. Those expansion limits and discourages alternative options for consumers to pick from and only gives power to Facebook on the digital frontier.
“I do believe that the FTC has done its due diligence before bringing these allegations against Facebook in that it has worked closely with almost all of the state’s attorneys general to build a case.” said Masuk Business teacher Richelle Crino
“ It appears at first glance that Facebook has over the last half decade taken a systematic approach to eliminate its threats by acquisition…There is a line between growing and strengthening a business and purposefully creating a monopoly.”
Zuckerberg is not new to the legal spotlight. The CEO faced Congress in a hearing regarding the privacy of user information. There was much controversy over how that information was being used during the time of the 2016 presidential election. This matter reached across seas to Cambridge Analytica, a company formally based in England that was found to be using user data from Facebook in order to influence elections around the world by targeting people who were thought to be easily influenced. This company had connections to the Trump campaign in 2016. The company is no longer, but the Trump 2020 campaign continued to have been working with ex staffers of Cambridge Analytica.
The power of this monopoly recently displayed its power through politics. After the January 6th, Insurrection at the Capital of the United States, Facebook CEO Mark Zukerburg initially suspended Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for inciting and encouraging the “great patriots” responsible for the riot in the heart of democracy.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” states Zuckerberg in none other than a Facebook post.
Politics aside, this was an example of Zuckerberg’s control of not only Facebook, but Instgram too.
Being online provides information to companies like Cambridge Analytica, who then tailor posts in order to influence or push someone towards their own beliefs. People are being targeted and manipulated with the information they give unknowingly to those with malintent. Social media has shown just how influential it can be and a lot this power lies within Facebook.
Lawsuits like these are going to affect the progression as well as give a glimpse into the future of the internet. It is a place that can seem to be safe, but the internet is still a work in progress.