Facebook social media monopoly copying buying attacking its competitors, according to the US House of Representatives: Facebook became a "social media monopoly" by applying "competitive pressure to new competitors and existing firms "through" acquisitions of companies it saw as competitive threats " and excluding its competitors from its platform to isolate them, the U.S. House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee has concluded.

Research on monopolies in digital, which also affects Apple, Amazon and Google, has given rise to a document of 450 pages which can be found on the website of the House of Representatives and the Democratic majority on the subcommittee recommends that the u.s. Congress the "structural separation" of these platforms dominant or the "prohibition of future mergers and acquisitions" on the part of these companies, among other actions.

According to the document, the company led by Mark Zuckerberg achieved its monopoly position by identifying competitors that could be a threat and buying them, or copying its business or causing its ruin. As an example, the document shows a conversation between Zuckerberg and his CFO in 2012 about the acquisition of Instagram.

"One way of looking at this is that we are buying time. Even if a new competitor appears, buying Instagram now will give us a year or more to integrate their dynamics before anyone can reach their scale," Zuckerberg said, according to the report.

This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of monopoly. The Federal Trade Commission, which has already fined him $ 4.5 billion for the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, is currently investigating his acquisitions, the fourth to which the company is exposed.

Instagram Facebook Facebook data scientist Thomas Cunningham informed Zuckerberg and the vice president of expansion, Javier Oliván, that Instagram could reach a turning point where its growth would depend on users leaving the Facebook app.

Facebook and Instagram Instagram," the question was how we positioned Facebook and Instagram not to compete with each other, " an Instagram ex-employee told the Sub-Commission. "Mark (Zuckerberg) clearly said 'Don't compete with us'... It's collusion, but within an internal monopoly. If you own two social networks, one should not prop up the other. I do not understand why this is not illegal, " he said, according to the document.

Facebook social media monopoly copying buying attacking

According to the subcommittee, the lack of competition has led to "the quality of Facebook has deteriorated", which has led to "worse protection of privacy" and a "dramatic increase in misinformation on the platform".

The extensive research also refers to the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook in 2014, in which, according to the subcommittee on antitrust, Zuckerberg and other executives of Facebook saw in it "a potential threat to Facebook Messenger".

In an email from Zuckerberg to Facebook executives in December 2013 about the company's competitive threats, the founder of the social network warned about the functionality Whatsapp was developing for well-known personalities that this step could pose a threat because it would penetrate the territory of social networks. "I doubt we have more than a year before WhatsApp takes this address," Zuckerberg warned.

The four executives of major U.S. technology companies appeared on July 30 by videoconference in the House of Representatives, in a tense session in which a representative asked Zuckerberg about how many times Facebook had cloned features of its competitors.

"These tactics reinforce Facebook's dominance and are then used in an increasingly destructive way," she said.

Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook has "certainly adapted features" from other apps, but rejected the rest of the accusation and said the company is not trying to intimidate or pressure its competitors. "I respectfully reject that premise," Zuckerberg said.

To explain why Facebook is not as dominant in the line, Zuckerberg listed the companies that are outpacing Facebook in various areas, including firms that were present in the session.

"The most popular messaging service in the US is iMessage. The fastest growing app is TikTok. The most famous video app is YouTube. The fastest growing ad platform is Amazon. The largest ad platform is Google. And for every dollar that is invested in advertising in the US, we get less than 10 cents."

End of Facebook social media monopoly copying buying attacking


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Spanish education startup Lingokids receives € 8.5 million in funding from German gaming company Ravensburger

Lingokids, the digital platform of educational games, has closed a round of investment of Series B, 8.5 million euros ($10 million) led by the German brand Ravensburger, along with investors that were already in the company as HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, JME Ventures, All Iron Ventures, 500 Startups, Athos Capital and Sharpetown.

The Spanish startup, emerging in 2016 as an implementation of English courses for children between the ages of 2 and 8 years, has evolved in recent years to other areas of knowledge, and intends to use this injection of capital to develop more content in thematic STEM (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as to enrich their programs of self-learning customized.

Lingokids, used by more than 20 million families in 190 countries, aims with this investment also consolidate its growth in the United States, which is already its "main market" according to its creators, as well as expand its presence in Spain and other countries. He was a finalist in the Insider pitch contest-Confinamiento edition, organized by Business Insider Spain.

The company's CEO, Cristobal Viedma, assessed that its new investor, Ravensburger, "is not an investor in use" but a historic company " dedicated to making children learn by playing." "That's just the motto of Lingokids: we believe that the more fun children have with an educational tool, the more they will learn," the co-founder of the company said in a statement.

For its part, the German company Ravensburger sees that through its investment in the Spanish edtech, it will allow it to "access a niche market" that they did not have covered to offer its customers "new innovative alternatives of educational leisure for children around the world", as noted the director of corporate development of the brand, Thomas Bleyer.

With this round, Lingokids a total of 19 million euros ($23 million) in funding since its launch with investors as HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, JME Ventures, Ravensburger, All Iron Ventures, 500 Startups, Athos, Sabadell Ventures, BigSur, Reach Capital, 500 startups, SHO-zemi Innovation Ventures, Incuvest, or business angels, as Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, the company Elon Musk.

During the coronavirus crisis they have tried to bring the app for free to families. They have done so by signing agreements with NGOs such as UNICEF, Red Cross, Fundación Dreamar Despierto or UNHCR, through which they have donated more than 30,000 licenses to families in Spain and Latin America. They also approached their services during the pandemic through educational centers and gave the Unlimited mode to their basic users.

Investment in startups in the education sector broke records during the first half of this year, with more than $ 4.1 billion in 279 agreements, according to data from the specialized database Crunchbase. Among the companies there are Spanish companies such as Odilo, MasterD or now Lingokids, and the local sector could benefit from the universality of the Spanish language.

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