Spencer Weber Waller on Facebook and antitrust

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April 17, 2012 · 2 comments

Spencer Weber Waller, Professor and Director at the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, discusses his new paper entitled, Antitrust and Social Networking. The discussion centers on the likelihood of Facebook being charged by the government as having a monopoly over the social networking market. Waller first explains antitrust law, which, among other things, prohibits monopolization to protect competition. Waller then discusses the difficulty of defining the market for social networks. He claims that Facebook is dominant in the market, but he also says there are multiple markets for Facebook’s participation, like consumer use and advertising. Waller goes on to explain how a court would analyze an antitrust violation. According to Waller, there is a two-step process involved where courts ask whether there is market power, and whether a company is doing anything with that power to interfere with competition. Waller ends the discussion by analyzing the likelihood of Facebook ever being charged with antitrust violations. Waller also briefly gives his thoughts on the recent antitrust suit filed by the DOJ against Apple.

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  • http://twitter.com/LandoCalRZA David Peterson

    I felt like it was treated as if in order to sign up for Google+ you first have to delete your Facebook. Doesn’t the fact that someone can be members of networks simultaneously have some impact on the argument over whether or not it exercises monopoly power?

  • http://twitter.com/binarybits Timothy B. Lee

    Weber said “Facebook is both a plaintiff and a defendant” in patent cases. I wonder if he could give us an example of Facebook being a plaintiff in a patent case. I can’t think of any examples and am skeptical that there are any.