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Zuckerberg owns or clones most of the “8 social apps” he cites as competition

Zuckerberg owns or clones most of the “8 social apps” he cites as competition
From TechCrunch - April 11, 2018

Mark Zuckerbergsflimsy defense when congress asked about a lack of competition to Facebook has been to cite that the average American uses eight social apps. But that conveniently glosses over the fact that Facebookowns three of the top 10 U.S. iOS apps: #4 Instagram, #6 Messenger, and #8 Facebook according to App Annie. The top 3 apps are games. Facebook is building its Watch video hub to challenge #5 YouTube, and has relentlessly cloned Stories to beat #7 Snapchat. And Facebook also owns #19 WhatsApp. Zoom in to just social networking apps, and Facebook owns the entire top 3.

The average American I think uses eight different communication and social apps. So theres a lot of different choice and a lot of innovation and activity going on in this space Zuckerberg said when asked about whether Facebook is a monopoly by Senator Graham during yesterdays Senate hearing, and hes trotted out that same talking point that was on his note sheet during todays House testimony.

But Facebook has relentlessly sought to acquire or co-opt the features of its competitors. Thats why any valuable regulation will require congress to prioritize competition. That means either breaking up Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp; avoiding rules that are easy for Facebook to comply with but prohibitively expensive for potential rivals to manage; or ensuring data portability that allows users to choose where to take their content and personal information.

Breaking up Facebook, or at least preventing it from acquiring established social networks in the future, would be the most powerful way to promote competition in the space. Facebooks multi-app structure creates economies of scale in data that allow it to share ad targeting and sales teams, backend engineering, and relevancy-sorting algorithms. That makes it tough for smaller competitors without as much money or data to provide the public with more choice.

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