A PYMNTS Company

The Competition Cure-All – Part F

 |  October 29, 2021

By: Ramsi Woodcock (What Am I Missing?)

Margrethe Vestager is saying that the Facebook outage shows the need for more competition in social media. And she’s right, if you enjoyed that outage and would like to make it permanent, not in the sense that you will stop getting any social media, but in the sense of crossing half your friends off of your friends list forever. For that is what will happen in a world of “fifty different Facebooks” in which, by antitrust design, you are no longer permitted to belong to the same social media platform to which everyone else belongs.

What the Facebook outage tells us is not that we need more competition in social media; it tells us that we need more regulation. That Facebook is a public utility and if it does not voluntarily pour resources into service quality, as public utilities do, then we must force it to do that.

If Facebook had a smart, Theodore Newton Vail-like CEO, however, the political fallout from this outage would be enough to focus Facebook’s mind.

Focus it on service.

Because public utilities are through and through political animals, satisfying political constituencies by delivering to them the services they demand, on pain of intemperate, unreasoning, wrathful antitrust breakup…