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Reasons for Favoring the FTC over Facebook

Reasons for Favoring the FTC Over Facebook

In our antitrust survey, we presented participants with a summary of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. The lawsuit centers on allegations of unfair competition, specifically surrounding Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. We asked survey respondents questions about the strength of the FTC’s case, who they’d favor, and why they would favor that party. Below are some of the reasons why participants would favor the FTC over Facebook.

Facebook Has a Monopoly Over the Social Networking Industry

With its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook controls three of the largest social networking platforms in the United States. Many participants favoring the FTC over Facebook believed that Facebook clearly has a monopoly.

Facebook Has a Monopoly
"Facebook is engaging in the typical business monopoly."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"I believe that prior to reading this, Facebook was trying to monopolize social media; this info just adds to that.."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"I believe Facebook has been drowning out its competitors. The less competition they have, the more inclined they are to mine as much data as possible from consumers, possibly harming the consumers and increasing Facebook’s profits immorally and unnecessarily."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"Dominating social media networks is a legitimate concern.."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"Facebook buying out two other large companies and one of its direct competitors gives it more power than companies that did not make this buyout, which could threaten competition and push Facebook towards monopolizing."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"Facebook clearly is acting as a first to market monopoly."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"I favored the FTC for the precise reasons outlined in the text of the lawsuit. By buying out companies that reinforce its complete market dominance in social media through cyclical deals with advertising companies, Facebook has taken nearly complete control of the market."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"For one company to dominate an industry is disturbing. I think you need other companies to help set standards and to keep their competitors hungry to do better."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"I favor the FTC because Facebook shouldn't have to purchase to remain at the top to compete with others."
Facebook Has a Monopoly
"I think the allegations provided above in the FTC's antitrust lawsuit against Facebook quite frankly speak for themselves. It is very clear today, in hindsight, that the acquisition of both Instagram and WhatsApp, despite being approved by the regulators (who probably didn't have the right instruments and regulations to predict and avoid such outcome) clearly allowed Facebook not only to build an empire among social networks but also empowered them to collect data at the cost of people's privacy for the purpose of enlarging their profit to amounts that might be considered obscene!."
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Facebook Has Control Over Too Much User Data Through Multiple Platforms

After gaining control of the data collected by WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook has access to, and profits from, immense amounts of user data. Going beyond personal information and demographics, these platforms monetize personal preferences to levels of which many users are unaware.

Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebook has control of social networks which puts all data for users in the hands of one company ."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebook is selling your personal info to benefit them."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebok has a dangerous compilation of personal data and the users do not know where it is going."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"It’s not good for Facebook to have all this data to sell."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebook does have ad tracking and allowing them to own these companies allows them to collect even more sensitive data."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebook is manipulating and obtaining data from millions of people to obtain gigantic sums of money."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Facebook should not be gaining a monopoly on personal information."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"I am afraid of corporations collecting too much data to benefit their profit."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"I agree that the organization should not have so much power and information on people."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"I think the main reason I would side with the FTC is the selling of user data in order to make itself more attractive to advertising companies. Privacy is something everyone should have a right to, and information should not be sold without express agreement. By purchasing other companies, Facebook developed a monopoly on information, not just on social media platforms-- which is a very valuable currency in today's world."
Facebook Sells Your Personal Data
"Right from the beginning Facebook has been stealing information from people and has guaranteed no privacy of data. So many accounts got hacked, so many people lost money and have gone bankrupted because of fraud and suspicious activities. I am a personal victim. Recently, I have also heard of whatsapp collecting personal information and tracking people. Anything people do on the internet has been tracked and their information has been getting collected. And, FTC is right in their claim as well."
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Want Government Regulation of Social Media Companies

The industry of social media is novel and not yet regulated by the government. Many participants favoring the FTC over Facebook believed that, because the industry is pervasive and lucrative, the government might need to intervene and set rules for social media companies to follow; especially regarding user data.

The Government Needs to Regulate Facebook
"I feel like in these past 10 years or so, social media has become almost a necessity to most people and therefore needs some regulation just like a cable company or utility. I generally never favor government regulation but there has to be a line, and I feel like Facebook has crossed it to the detriment of the general public."
The Government Needs to Regulate Facebook
"Facebook is already too strong, and the antitrust lawsuit seems beneficial to society."
The Government Needs to Regulate Facebook
"I believe the FTC has the duty to challenge private corporate control of the tech world."
The Government Needs to Regulate Facebook
"Someone must ensure the security of the population's data."
The Government Needs to Regulate Facebook
"FTC should regulate the influence Facebook has."
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Negative Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's quote: "It's better to buy than to compete."

Though it was a short quote, Mark Zuckerberg’s statement, “It is better to buy than to compete,” left a big impression on a lot of our survey respondents. Participants thought that Zuckerberg’s implied strategy was a clear violation of antitrust laws. Other participants had negative reactions to the idea that the company did not create and innovate, but simply conquered by buying the companies.

Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"The FTC presented the email quote which can't really be argued, monopolies aren't usually a good thing."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"Facebookis willing to buy anyone that can compete with them just to keep mining user data and get profit from these data."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"I favor the FTC because of the comments made by the Facebook CEO."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"First of all, Zuckerberg's own words incriminated him and the company. Second, Facebook's actions are anti-competitive."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"I believe that the FTC at the time that the purchase of these companies was approved by Facebook did not have a statement from the president of Facebook where he made clear the true intention of buying these competitors. now you have that statement and that completely changes the picture."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"I think the email itself is sufficient to state that Facebook is eliminating any form of competition. Furthermore, the FTC is not a perfect organization, there might have been an oversight during their earlier review."
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"I think what Facebook did is disgusting! Mark Zuckerberg stated what his beliefs are about competition. The little guy can’t compete and that’s just wrong!"
Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's Words
"Zuckerberg’s quote that he would rather buy than compete is pretty damning. Additionally, I don’t think Facebook is a responsible company and it seems likely that they would engage in unfair competition.."
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Negative Opinions about Facebook or Its Executives

A very common sentiment was that Facebook and its executives engage in unethical business practices. Participants favoring the FTC over Facebook cited Facebook’s dominance, the perceived lack of security of user data, and the perceived exploitation of that data monetized through advertising.

Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook is evil."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook and it's associates have a long and storied history of untoward behavior including lying under oath while testifying before Congress. I consider them a danger to the future of America. They've already done irreparable harm."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook doesn't care about people. It's all about money."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook has always used underhanded practices and isn't very trustworthy."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook is a very sketchy company and they have released customers' information before."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook is another big tech corrupt organization, they line the pockets of politicians and pay off judges to continue their corrupt practices."
Facebook is Unethical
"Facebook/Zuckerberg think they can do anything they want, by owning everything they want, and just run over everybody else to do it so that [Zuckerberg] can be as successful as he wants, he's a very selfish man."
Facebook is Unethical
"Honestly, Facebook has lost my trust. Although I do continue to use it, I only use it now for memes and videos/shows. Other than that I’ve slowed usage."
Facebook is Unethical
"I strongly dislike the CEO of Facebook and question his morals."
Facebook is Unethical
"I would favor the FTC simply because i do not like Facebook. However, they technically did not do anything wrong, I suppose."
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