Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders are appearing in front of Congress this week to answer questions about the size and scope of their market power. And so far, it has not been going well for the social media giant, with lawmakers accusing Facebook of neutralizing competitors, violating antitrust laws and hoarding user data.
In one particularly tense line of questioning, Rep. Pramila Jayapal grilled Zuckerberg about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012. She asked the Facebook chief repeatedly about threats his company had made against the photo sharing app prior to acquiring it, as well as efforts to copy its technology. She even went so far as to accuse Facebook of using its users’ data to spy on competitors.
“I think the question again here is when the dominant platform threatens as potential rivals, that should not be a normal business practice,” Jayapal said. “Facebook is a case study, in my opinion, in monopoly power because your company harvests and monetizes our data, and then your company uses that data to spy on competitors, and to copy acquire and kill rivals.”
Of course, Facebook doesn’t really have a good defense of itself, because it does aggressively wield its control over our data. The only question now is what our lawmakers are going to do about it.
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