The U.S. government last week issued a series of significant announcements that could eventually have major impacts on the operation of social media platforms, including potential limitations and limitations of what digital platforms can do regarding purchasing other platforms, managing their advertising business, using user data, and more.
On Friday, four separate accounts are familiar with A House of Representatives that all target different elements of large technology monopolies.
As he reported Reuters, these four accounts could see:
- Law against platforms that favor their own products on their platforms. For example, Google could no longer promote its own products in search, Apple should not prefer Apple Music over Spotify, and so on.
- Restriction of business combinations in the technology sector, unless the acquirer can prove that the acquired company was not in competition with any product or service that the platform already offers. Facebook should not get WhatsApp or Instagram under this provision.
- Prohibition of digital platforms owned by affiliates operating on their platform, if those affiliates compete with other companies. This is aimed at reducing preferential behavior and could potentially force the sale of certain elements.
- Improved user data portability, with platforms under a legal obligation to allow users to transfer data elsewhere if they choose, including competition.
A separate account would also give Antitrust Department of the Ministry of Justice a significant incentive in funding, to assist him in conducting antitrust cases, such as those currently pending against both Facebook and Google.
Indeed, there are always ongoing antitrust cases against technology giants, and increasing funding would help address these unresolved issues and fund further investigations.
If these accounts are adopted, or even if some of them manage to pass, it will put a new set of constraints on the way technology giants can operate, while further investigations are underway in Europe and other regions over potential data sharing restrictions, due to concerns about possible abuse by foreign governments.
This also happens as the U.S. government continues examine the implications of data exchange with China, which includes Chinese-owned digital platforms, and could at some stage affect TikTok as well as WeChat. While TikTok could do it avoid the ban in the US last year, after the Trump administration tried to force it into U.S. ownership, it could still face potential closure in America, depending on the escalation of U.S.-Chinese tensions.
Overall, these elements could force major shifts in the digital marketing landscape, and it will be important for anyone working in the sector to take this into account and prepare for change as a result.
Although, really, these moves are not a big surprise.
Given the rise of social media and the key role they now play in our daily interactive process, it seems somewhat inevitable that at some stage new rules will be introduced that will dominate the power of Facebook and Co., especially as platforms are increasingly being asked to they weigh things like political censorship, and their networks are beings used to influence major global shifts.
This last remark may seem like an exaggeration, but it is wanted by foreign-funded groups influence voter turnout beyond their own borders through social applications, and politicians are increasingly relying on Facebook and Twitter, especially as a direct line to their constituents, allowing them, among other things, to cast doubt on media coverage, it is very clear that social media is indeed causing seismic shifts in the political landscape.
If the rise of former US President Donald Trump has shown us anything, it is that social media is now the main platform for connecting with audiences on a scale and in real time – and with 71% of people they are now getting at least some of their news from social media platforms, and they are becoming more and more significant.
This has already been intimidated by various government officials and lawmakers, while it recently banned Trump from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube raised further concerns about political censorshipand the fact that Silicon Valley technology executives are now bringing who can and cannot have a public platform. This gives the private company direct control over the policy element, which, whether you agree with Trump’s ban or not, is a significant issue.
Which is why Facebook is looking external regulation, and even formed his own independent regulatory group, composed of a diverse group of experts, to solve such problems. Facebook hopes that by showing how an independent supervisory board can help it make such decisions, it could provide a new path for broader regulation and exempt such decisions from its hands.
Basically, Facebook and other platforms would rather their rules not be set by their internal teams either – but they don’t have much choice within the current process. As such, these new accounts could be a step forward, but at the same time they would limit Facebook’s ability to grow and expand even further with the acquisition.
Which really only means we’ll see more Facebook cloning features, like Stories and Reels, and fewer attempts to buy opposing platforms, like WhatsApp and Instagram.
Would that be a better scenario? I mean, probably. Facebook clones have traditionally not fared as well as the originals, leaving more room for competition in the sector.
But in any case, the implications here are significant and could spur major changes in the industry. There is still a long way to go, but it is worth paying attention to every element in this shift.