News Release

Big Tech Dominance: Is Antitrust the Solution?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Monday afternoon: “FTC Gets Jurisdiction for Possible Facebook Antitrust Probe.”

In recent days, the Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com) reported: “Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny under a new agreement between U.S. regulators” and the Wall Street Journal reported: “Justice Department Is Preparing Antitrust Investigation of Google.”

NBC News reports Monday afternoon: “Amazon, Google and Facebook shares tumble on antitrust concerns.” Also, Reuters reports: “U.S. Justice Dept considering Apple probe — sources.”

DINA SRINIVASAN, dina.srinivasan at aya.yale.edu, @DinaSrinivasan
Srinivasan is an antitrust scholar. Her piece “Why Privacy Is an Antitrust Issue” was just published by the New York Times. Srinivasan is the author of “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook”, an academic paper published in the Berkeley Business Law Journal early this year.

She has been featured on two accuracy.org news releases earlier this year: “Sanders Joins Calls to Break Up Facebook” and “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” in which she likens Facebook to the old AT&T monopoly and notes that Facebook had just hired State Department lawyer Jennifer Newstead, who was reportedly the day-to-day manager of getting the Patriot Act through Congress, as its general counsel. Said Srinivasan: “Clearly, Facebook is preparing for battle and hiring a government insider to lead it.”

Srinivasan said today: “As I outlined in my paper ‘The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,’ there are several antitrust stories that the FTC will be looking at. They involve Facebook continuously abusing consumer privacy and selectively revoking API [application programming interface] access and interoperability functionality.

“The antitrust case against Google is also clear. Google has consistently leveraged its dominant position in search, but also its dominant position in other markets — like the publisher ad server market — to keep the digital advertising markets non-transparent and sheltered from real competition.

“For example, on its face, Google’s AMP [accelerated mobile pages] initiative seems to be about helping publishers with mobile page loads. But upon deeper analysis, AMP is really about Google using its power in search to force publishers into giving up more control over their reader data and consenting to less transparency in how Google is auctioning publisher inventory.

“Publishers are wary of doing either of those things. To coerce publishers into these terms, Google announced that Google Search would thereafter decrease page ranks based on mobile page loads speed. In essence, Google is using its power in search, and the guise of this AMP initiative, to get publishers to agree to more coercive terms.”