Although Facebook started as a way to connect with college classmates, it has grown into one of the largest technology companies in the world. Facebook is no longer solely a way to connect with classmates. Instead, it is the powerhouse of social networks and dominates the online advertising business. Facebook has grown at an unprecedented rate—acquiring businesses and gathering users’ privacy along the way—partially because of the failure of U.S. antitrust laws to adequately protect against anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior in the technological arena.
Historically, antitrust laws have used the consumer welfare standard to determine if entities are engaging in anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior. However, as technology continues to develop in the twenty-first century, the way consumer welfare is measured must be revised. This Comment outlines the development and history of antitrust laws to illustrate how the current antitrust model fails to adequately capture anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior in the technological arena. Using Facebook as a case study, this Comment shows how Big Tech harms consumers in ways not traditionally thought of—loss of control over data and privacy, lack of innovation, and decline in business startups—and outlines ways Congress and courts must approach U.S. antitrust laws to better encapsulate Big Tech. These methods promote preserving the competitive process and market structure while giving consumers a voice in the protection of their privacy and data.
Elizabeth I. Nielson, Dislike: Facebook's Anticompetitive Monopoly on Social Media and Why U.S. Antitrust Laws Must Adapt to the Technological Era, 75 SMU L. Rev. F. 120 (2022)