Fake Antitrust?: Fact Checking on the Alleged Competition Law Case Against Social Media (Facebook) for the Proliferation of Fake News
28 Pages Posted: 29 May 2020
Date Written: May 25, 2020
In this paper, we analyze the antitrust arguments against social media platforms such as Facebook for the alleged prioritization of fake news.
After addressing some imperative questions in a rigorous antitrust analysis, we find that the claim that social media platforms have some kind of antitrust responsibility for the proliferation of fake news is not strongly supported on evidence. Based on several national and multinational studies, the data suggests that Facebook does not have enough market power in the online news referral market to independently favor fake news and negatively affect real news organizations. Furthermore, it is quite unlikely that Facebook or any current social media platform would, intentionally or not, engage in a strategy to benefit fake news, and several indicators show that fake news has not caused a significant harm to news businesses. Nevertheless, news organizations do face the risk of resembling fake news publishers and losing their added value if they follow a counterproductive commoditization strategy.
Keywords: Antitrust, Social Media, Fake News, Market Power, Monopolization, Digital Platforms, Competition Law
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