Facing Facebook: Data Portability and Interoperability Are Anti-Monopoly Medicine

Social media has a competition problem, and its name is Facebook. Today, Facebook and its subsidiaries are over ten times more valuable than the next two largest social media companies outside China—Twitter and Snapchat—combined. It has cemented its dominance by buying out potential competitors before they’ve had a chance to grow (like Instagram) and waging wars of attrition against others (like Snapchat) when it can’t. Because of its massive reach across much of the world, the platform can effectively censor public speech, perform psychological experiments, and potentially sway elections on the scale of a nation-state. And if users don’t like the way Facebook wields this power, there is nowhere else as ubiquitous or as well-populated for them to go. It’s going to take multiple changes to fix the problems, in free expression and elsewhere, caused by Facebook’s dominance. If we’re going to have a real shot at it, one thing that…

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