There was a bombshell that emerged in a recent Congressional hearing: Facebook was determined to either buy or destroy Instagram, solely to undermine a competitor -- showing once again FB has become too big.
"One thing about startups though is you can often acquire them," Mark Zuckerberg told employees in an email back in 2012, before deciding to buy Instagram. It was one of a series of emails which revealed that Zuckerberg had bought Instagram because he saw it as a potential competitor, and wanted to "neutralize" it.1
Tech monopolies like Facebook have escaped scrutiny and regulation for years, even as they solidified dominant positions in commerce and communications, amassing wealth, economic and political power. Facebook is routinely abusing that power and undermining our democracy. All that is finally starting to change -- but we need you to help get Congress to act on this shocking new information.
Sign the petition to tell Congress and federal regulators: Break up Facebook and the big tech monopolies!
In the course of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust's investigations, the committee obtained emails that Zuckerberg had sent to his employees about acquiring Instagram. "Instagram can hurt us meaningfully without becoming a huge business,” Zuckerberg wrote.2 The emails show that Zuckerberg wasn’t even thinking about creating a better product: he just wanted to ensure that Facebook remained dominant.
And that wasn’t even the worst of it: the subcommittee obtained chats which showed that Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom thought Zuckerberg would try to destroy Instagram if it didn't agree to be acquired.3
The emails and chats make transparent what we already knew to be true: Zuckerberg engaged in anticompetitive behavior to grow Facebook into a digital advertising monopoly.
It was one of a number of moments during the hearing which revealed the blatant anti-competitive behavior that Big Tech has undertaken to dominate commerce, communications, and serve as gatekeepers to the internet:
- Jeff Bezos conceded he "couldn't guarantee" that Amazon hadn't used seller data to design competing products.
- Lawmakers grilled Sundar Pichai for prioritizing Google’s own websites and products in searches while threatening to delist others.
- Apple's Tim Cook was under scrutiny for using iPhones to dominate the app market, and then charging high commissions on the App Store.
The testimony from the billionaire tech barons underscored that their companies have taken part in unfair monopoly practices that hurt everyone, and it's time for Congress and the FTC to break them up.
We need your help using the momentum from last week’s hearing to turn it into legislative and regulatory action.
Will you join me in telling Congress and regulators: Break up Facebook and the Big Tech monopolies!
1. The Verge, "'Instagram Can Hurt Us': Mark Zuckerberg Emails Outline Plan to Neutralize Competititors," July 29, 2020.
3. Business Insider, "'The wrath of Mark': Never-before-seen messages show Instagram's cofounders felt intimidated by Mark Zuckerberg to sell their company for $1 billion," July 30, 2020.