John Oliver’s masterful explanation of tech monopolies — and how Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is blocking legislation to control them — is a must-watch TV show for anyone who cares about innovation. and competition in the United States. He explained in detail how Future of the Internet like Apple, Google, and Amazon use their core products and market share to crush competitors and enter new businesses while taking advantage of ordinary Americans.
It’s easy for anyone to see that it’s unfair when Amazon copies a bag that becomes popular on its website and offers its own identical version through Amazon Basics.
But Oliver didn’t talk about Meta, which is arguably the biggest winner if Senator Chuck Schumer decides not to lift his de facto control over the American Innovation and Online Choice Act (AICO), a bipartisan reform currently in the Senate that would limit the ability of market owners to exploit their power over market participants. For example. Amazon has been accused of copying the best sellers in its marketplace and then using its control of the platform to drive traffic to its copy.
Meta’s platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) operate markets that at first glance appear to be different from those of Google, Amazon and Apple. So why is Meta putting unprecedented resources into killing AICO, which appears to be targeting the other Future of the Internet? Because like the other Big Tech monopolies, Meta employs self-preference to undermine the viability of the smaller companies that depend on it.
AICO threatens to unravel some of Meta’s less recognized anti-competitive practices. For example, Future of internet prevents users of its chat platforms from communicating with users of other chat platforms. The CEO of a chat company says there is “very little innovation in chat” because companies like Facebook “force people to use their product.” You don’t need to take that CEO’s word for it. Facebook actually cut off another messaging service’s access to its infrastructure, fearing it might become a competitor.
The deeper reason Meta is fighting AICO tooth and nail is this: AICO would be a barrier to Meta implementing its long-term goal of controlling what Mark Zuckerberg describes as the next internet revolution: the metaverse.
From 2006 to 2009 I was an adviser to Zuckerberg. I also led my company’s initial investment in Facebook. Since then, I have written and spoken (over and over) about how the company has lost its way, how its culture, business practices, and algorithms undermine public health, democracy, privacy, and competition in our economy.
A once dynamic and revolutionary industry is now controlled by half a dozen monopolies whose idea of innovation is to add just enough functionality to keep customers locked up. In many ways, Facebook is an example of that change. His journey, from a bedroom startup to a billion-dollar company, took only sixteen years.
Along the way, Facebook pioneered an entirely new industry, bringing people genuinely new and useful products. Now, Future of the Internet behaves as aging monopolies always do: protect its territory, copy the best ideas of emerging players, and exploit consumers instead of serving them. I had a front row seat to the transformation, and I’m here to tell you that Zuckerberg must be stopped.
The transformation of the US tech industry from a growth engine to a collection of parasitic monopolies has occurred over the past fifteen years, slowly at first, then decisively. It took place at a time when there is almost no oversight of tech companies. Facebook reached the pinnacle of our economy by gobbling up would-be competitors WhatsApp and Instagram before they posed a real threat, allowing it to corner the global market in both messaging and photo-sharing, creating giant moats to extend and protect its monopoly on social networks. media.