The Trump Administration Attacks the Stigler Report on Digital Platforms

President Trump’s 2020 Economic Report finally confronts the issue of antitrust enforcement both in the traditional economy and in the digital one. While it criticizes the demand for more antitrust enforcement on the ground of insufficient evidence, it dismisses the conclusions of the Stigler Report on a purely a priori argument, ignoring all the evidence contained in the report. 

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Facebook’s Enduring Control Over Social Media Markets

According to the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Facebook accounts for 75 percent of the UK’s social media market. Over the past 10 years, only three companies succeeded in obtaining at least a 5 percent market share of social media users’ time: Instagram (which Facebook bought), WhatsApp (which Facebook bought) and Snapchat (which Facebook tried and failed to buy).

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The Chicken/Egg Problem With Google Search That Prevents Competition

Google controls the British search market, according to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. Its 90 percent market share and profits from general search are protected by significant barriers to entry and expansion: economies of scale and scope, access to a large scale of query and click data and payments to Apple to have Google as the default search engine in its smartphones.

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Google’s and Facebook’s Grip on Digital Advertising Markets

Since July 2019, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has been conducting an extensive investigation of the digital advertising market. In its preliminary report on the investigation, the CMA expresses concerns that Google and Facebook have grown so “large and have such extensive access to data that potential rivals can no longer compete on equal terms.”

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How Allowing a Little Bit of Dissent Helps the Chinese Government Control Social Media

A new study on three major social networks in China finds that tolerating small, relatively free platforms helps the Chinese government maintain sufficiently high market-level censorship in an overall low-pressure environment. However, larger platforms censor more content than small competitors.

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“We Were Naïve,” Says FCC Chair Who Oversaw the Creation of Section 230

In an interview with ProMarket, former FCC chair Reed Hundt spoke about antitrust, Big Tech platforms, the future of the 1996 provision that provided legal protection to social media companies from liability for harmful content, and Facebook. “Mark Zuckerberg, god bless him, who is a smart but really lucky guy, should not be surprised that people want to break up his company.”  

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How to Change Section 230 and Make Digital Platforms More Accountable

If elected, former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to “revoke immediately” the 1996 provision that gave tech companies like Facebook protection from civil liability for harmful or misleading content published on their platforms. The Stigler Center Committee on Digital Platforms has a proposal to fix the problem.   

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“You Can Put the Monopoly Tiger in a Cage but You Cannot Transform a Tiger Into a Vegan”

In an extensive interview with the Swiss news website TheMarket.ch, Luigi Zingales discusses ways to deal with Big Tech and the impact of the antitrust debate on the 2020 presidential election and on consumer welfare. “The digital economy is substantially different from a traditional textbook economy.”

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It Is Time to Break Up the Disney Empire

Disney is not a corporation that pushes the bounds of artistic and technological possibility but a corporation that pushes the bounds of legal possibility under a radical pro-consolidation framework that has existed since the 1990s. Its new streaming service Disney Plus proves that the company is willing to lose money in order to generate market power that Disney can later use, often against consumers.  

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