Facebook

Facebook's 'Monopoly' Was Always Doomed

No federal intervention required.

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It's been quite a while since Facebook was cool. But until very recently, it continued to amass active users. And this seemingly unstoppable growth helped fuel arguments for the U.S. government to step in and "break up" Facebook or craft new laws to target it.

"Facebook is dangerous because Facebook is a MONOPOLY - with unprecedented power over communication. End it," Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has tweeted. Sen. Elizabeth Warren claims that "anybody on the internet knows that Facebook has monopoly power," which is why "we need stronger antitrust laws to #BreakUpBigTech." The idea has had a wide reach (even Teen Vogue now declares that "Facebook is a monopoly"), as has the claim that new competitors can't stand a chance against it.

"It is very difficult for a new entrant to displace an established personal social network in which users' friends and family already participate," the Federal Trade Commission says.

These arguments started gaining political traction at a funny time—just as Facebook started shedding U.S. users (with the drop especially steep among young people) and a new social network started rising. If the long history of technological change and digital dynamism didn't already suggest that intervention was unnecessary to quell Facebook's eternal expansion, this chip in its armor should have been another clue.

Now, that chip is getting bigger. Last week, the company revealed in an earnings report that it shed daily users globally in late 2021. During the last three months of the year, it lost around half a million daily users.

Facebook also said on a call about the earnings report that Apple's new App Tracking Transparency feature, meant to protect iPhone user privacy, could reduce Facebook revenue to the tune of $10 billion this year.

The news sent stock for Facebook parent-company Meta plummeting by around a quarter and Meta's market value plunging from nearly $900 billion to around $660 billion. "Meta dropped below Microsoft in terms of market value," Bloomberg reported last Saturday.

The invocation of Microsoft is fitting. In the 1990s, politicians and regulators got a bit obsessed with the idea that Microsoft held an unfair monopoly over various aspects of computing and web browsing. In a years-long legal battle, the feds and Congress used antitrust law to try to thwart Microsoft's dominance and break up the company.

The government's case against Microsoft failed at this task—but dynamism didn't. Microsoft's market share, power, and prestige diminished as other companies—like Apple and Google—proved better at adapting to, making, and marketing useful new technologies.

That this same plight will befall Facebook has seemed a pretty good bet for a while now. Young people don't use it. People of all ages have grown frustrated with it. The network effects that initially made it so attractive (of course you join Facebook, all your friends are there!) began to backfire: did you really want to know what your junior high English teacher scored in Farmville or how your third-cousin felt about Trump? Constant changes made using the site a pain for regular users (separating messenger into a separate app, for instance) and for publishers (for whom ever-shifting algorithms and content policies stood as obstacles to user eyeballs). Meanwhile, a series of high-profile content moderation decisions managed to convince basically every faction of American politics and culture that the company is against them.

Facebook did see some major expansion by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp (services that a number of politicians now want to forcibly split up from Facebook). But, time and again, other new business lines or products—like its recent wade into cryptocurrencyhave failed. Attempts to compete with existing businesses or products like Groupon, Gmail, Foursquare were also total misses.

And the idea that the "metaverse" will save Facebook is laughable. We've been here before—see virtual reality games in the '90s, Second Life circa 2007 (or 2015), and the buzz around augmented reality porn and headsets like Oculus Rift and Google Glass last decade. Virtual reality is an interesting idea, but people have been hyping it as the next big thing for quite a while and so far it's yet to catch on.

Besides the waning appeal of its main product and failed forays into others, Facebook's business model and single revenue stream make it vulnerable. "Digital advertising accounts for 98% of Meta's revenue, and it also accounts for 81% of [Google parent company] Alphabet's," noted Bloomberg columnist Parmy Olson earlier this month. The digital ad model has been a good bet for nearly two decades, but that doesn't mean it always will be. Ad growth is now happening at slower rates, and "an end to strong growth often means an end to dominance, especially when you don't have a backup," as Olson writes.

All of this has suggested Facebook can't stay social king forever. TikTok is making that even more apparent.

As Facebook has been shedding users, TikTok has been expanding like mad, reaching 1 billion global monthly users last year (up from 55 million in 2018). In the U.S., where it launched in 2017, it went from around 11.3 million active users in 2018 to around 100 million active U.S. users in 2020. It now has an estimated 120.8 million active adult users in the U.S., according to data analysis firm Kepios.

TikTok last year also displaced Google as the most visited place on the internet.

TikTok may be the best argument against claims that Facebook has a monopoly on social media services—something the Federal Trade Commission has been arguing in court.

Last June, a judge tossed the FTC's complaint, saying it had failed to sufficiently allege that Facebook actually was a monopoly. But the court left room for the FTC to try again, and this January a judge ruled that an amended complaint could proceed. This decision does not mean that the court necessarily agrees with the FTC's monopoly claims, merely that the agency didn't make such a poor case this time around. Now, the government will be tasked with backing up its monopoly claim.

Facebook's waning numbers and value, and TikTok's ascension, should complicate the government's narrative. But don't expect it to dampen enthusiasm in Congress for changing antitrust laws. That battle has never been based on a realistic assessment of consumer harm or competition. Rather, it's driven by generalized animosity toward big tech on both sides and toward big business on the left, coalescing on a desire to change antitrust law to reign in, punish, or profit off of big companies.

If political leaders were being realistic, they would realize that the Facebook era is already on its way out, because that's how trends and markets and technological dynamism work. Nothing can stay the hot new thing—or even the old and omnipresent thing that appeals to everyone—forever.

Facebook is still a behemoth, and it has a long way to fall before that will cease to be true (if it ever is). I'm not suggesting we start writing eulogies yet. But the U.S. (and European Union) antitrust push against Facebook and other big tech companies assumes—and often explicitly argues—that Facebook's power is permanent and its market share irreversible. Recent developments and ancient history show that's very obviously not the case.

NEXT: Appeals Court Rules Ohio Cops Didn't Have Cause To Arrest Man Wearing 'Fuck the Police' Shirt

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  1. Wtf is Facebook?

    1. Cindy Crawford autobio?

      1. Lyle Loves it.

        1. I thought that was Julia Roberts.

  2. Regardless of Facebooks status as a monopoly, it has engaged in illegal anti-competitive behavior.

    https://www.bloombergquint.com/technology/google-ceo-approved-illegal-ad-deal-with-facebook-states-claim

    1. Also buy and kills. Collusiory actions from infrastructure providers. Etc.

    2. Your link says it was Google that was cited in the complaint. Facebook is explicitly called out as not being named.

      1. The article says the two were working together. What is wrong with you?

  3. "And the idea that the "metaverse" will save Facebook is laughable."

    ----ENB

    If the kids are bailing on Facebook and Instagram for Snapchat because they don't want their message staying up forever to be subjected to woke bullies or the mean girls at their school, what is it about offering kids the opportunity to get bullied in the 3-D metaverse that addresses that problem? If people don't want to spend as much time on Facebook anymore because they're sick of being censored, why does censoring them in the 3-D metaverse that enhances the experience--or solves that problem for their users?

    I don't think there is a way for Meta/Facebook to address its core problems with its users while maintaining their scale and their p/e ratio. It's sort of like the problem GM had before they were nationalized by the Obama administration. GM had piled up pension obligations to retired UAW workers that were so high, they added thousands of dollars to the cost of every vehicle GM sold.

    The reason they concentrated on giant SUVs was because they couldn't make inexpensive, small, quality cars for a less than $1,000 profit, or they'd be losing money on every car. They knew nobody wanted to buy the gigantic, overpriced shit they were selling, but they couldn't make the kinds of cars people wanted to buy without losing money.

    Facebook/Instagram are in a similar situation right now. The more PC they are, the less time people want to spend on Facebook/Instagram. The less PC they are, the less advertisers are willing to spend on their platform. Meanwhile, the kids are all going to Snapchat and TikTok, and the advertisers are only willing to pay a premium to advertise to the kids anyway--since their brand awareness is still forming.

    I think Zuck is right to see that Facebook/Instagram can't maintain its scale or grow in its current form and that radical change is needed. I just don't understand why people would turn to Facebook for the kind of experiences he wants to sell. If you say something unwoke in the Metaverse, will Facebook bleep it out? If the mean girls in your high school encounter you in the Metaverse, will they stop being mean?

    Meanwhile, Microsoft may have leapfrogged Meta in the race to build the metaverse with its acquisition of ActivisionBlizzard. I don't think Meta could get away with an acquisition like that right now. I think they're in a situation where they can't do the things they need to do in order to grow, and I think they know that. 20 years from now, we'll probably be talking about Meta like we talk about MySpace. I think it's still out there somewhere. They marketed themselves as a music hub, at one point, but I think Bandcamp has supplanted them in that.

    1. I’m imagining the Metaverse as just as nasty as Twitter, but people slapping each other in VR, using fewer characters of actual dialogue.

      1. And in Facebook's metaverse, they're not only censoring what you write, like on Facebook, but also what you say. Other people don't hear what you say if what you say offends the algorithm. How else can they operate?

        Surely, I'm not the only one who remembers the Great Habbo Raid of 2006? Facebook can't just let people say what they want in the metaverse. Facebook can't even let people use whatever avatars they want, or people will abuse it. I promise you, they will, and they'll just do it for the Lulz. The pool will be closed! And then what?

        https://encyclopediadramatica.online/Habbo_/B/lockade

    2. The upstarts are making less money than Facebook, but have a ton of VC and Chinese government money to play with. Facebook is a real business with a real business plan and that will always be expensive, but it’s sustainable long term.

      The competition will either sell themselves to Facebook, flame out, or continue at their benefactors’ teats.

      Shedding unproductive users may be a blessing for Facebook. It means they’re getting a handle on the fake user bots and espionage accounts. That will let it continue to be the social media for adults who want to get things done.

      By the way, have you looked at reviews of Snapchat and TikTok? It’s perverts and kids. Not a good mix. That’s what took down MySpace.

      1. Facebook is sustainable, but at what p/e ratio? And it isn't just Facebook proper. The kids aren't opening new Instagram accounts either.

        And what took MySpace down was the failure to add new features.

        Meanwhile, niche services are springing up. Bandcamp may never achieve the scale of Facebook, but so what? They can dominate their pond like Facebook can't. Slack is a competitor for Facebook. I have friends and family who spend time on our personal Slack accounts now rather than Facebook.

        Facebook won't be completely undermined by any one competitor. It will be undermined by a hundred competitors who do their one thing better than Facebook can.

        Facebook is AOL. AOL got average Americans to believe in the internet. Investors thought AOL would be the biggest company in the world because people weren't smart enough to figure out that AOL wasn't the internet. It was only one website. Why would anyone need news, weather, email, search, or chat in the future, except for AOL? The answer was because other people could do each one of those things better than AOL. Facebook made people aware of what could happen on social media. Facebook may never do anything better than everyone else again.

        In fact, there may not be anything Facebook does better than their competitors--except keep their already existing contact list intact. And that isn't a selling point so much as it's a barrier to entry, and not a particularly significant one when we're talking about their competitors. Signal will take over messaging the contacts on your phone. I'm not sure WhatsApp has a big advantage over something like Signal in that regard.

      2. Not much suggesting that derpbook isn't propped up by the same venture capitalist sorts, and the same Chinese monies.

    3. Other sites have sprung up, without the censorship. Parler, Gab, MeWe, and others.

      Facebook's useful idiots have slammed all of them as "hotbeds of ultra right wing racism facism nazis and white supremascists oh my" simply because the people who founded them think ALL censorship is bad and that people should be smart enough to figure things out for themselves.

      1. Never underestimate the useful idiots ability to PROJECT everything they are onto everyone else.

  4. Zuck Fuckerberg

    1. Zuck is just the very tip of the fuckerberg! Below the tip, the 95% of the fuckerberg lies in waiting, beneath the neural seas. The neural seas await us, waiting to seize us by our neurons and synapses, dragging us down into a spiral vortex of unreality... An unreality where you can get a neural-spinal tap, and travel into Trumpland, where ALL vote-stealing Demon-craps are already BURNED, along with ALL of the other witches! Paradise awaits us, if ONLY we will BELIEVE in Der TrumpfenFuhrer! All Hail!!! NOW, dammit. right NOW, get on your KNEES, and PRAISE the NEW Bronze-Toned-and-Polished OverLard!!!

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/mypillow-guy-mike-lindell-punts-timeline-for-trump-retaking-power-as-august-conspiracy-theories-get-wackier
      MyPillow Guy Punts Timeline for Trump Retaking Power as Conspiracy Theories Get Wackier

      https://www.salon.com/2021/08/22/mike-lindell-still-in-trumps-good-graces-has-new-prediction-reinstatement-by-new-years/

      The Lord Trump didn’t return to us as scheduled, but the Second Coming is now re-scheduled. You can TRUST us THIS time, for sure!

      The Lord Trump DID return to us faithful ones, but He did it in an invisible way! Hold strong in your Faith in Him!

      The Lord Trump didn’t return to us yet, this is true! It only did NOT happen because YOU were not faithful enough, and didn’t send Him enough donations!

      The Lord Trump didn’t return to us yet, but He DID miraculously protect us all from the VERY worst forces of Evil, which is Der BidenFuhrer! Hold fast in your Faith… Lord Trump will come back VERY soon now! Especially if you send Him more money!

      The Lord Trump moves in Mysterious Ways! All will be revealed SOON! Especially if you have Enough Faith to DONATE till it HURTS!

    2. Let's Go, Thunderbird!

  5. In regards to Microsoft leapfrogging Meta with the acquisition of Activision/Blizzard in the race to build the Metaverse:

    “Metaverse is essentially about creating games,” the Microsoft boss said, noting the common concepts and technology between a virtual meeting and a video game. “It is about being able to put people, places, things [in] a physics engine and then having all the people, places, things in the physics engine relate to each other.

    “You and I will be sitting on a conference room table soon with either our avatars or our holograms or even 2D surfaces with surround audio. Guess what? The place where we have been doing that forever [...] is gaming.

    “And so, the way we will even approach the system side of what we’re going to build for the metaverse is, essentially, democratize the game building."

    ----Polygon

    "Microsoft CEO argues that buying Activision Blizzard will help him build the metaverse"

    https://www.polygon.com/22917625/microsoft-activision-blizzard-metaverse-satya-nadella

    1. Why would someone want an avatar in a virtual conference room? Most zoom meetings im on now have people with cameras off.

      1. You want an avatar if you're a Gnome mage with a +2 dagger.

        1. I use a picture of Jeffrey Toobin as my avatar.

          1. What a dick.

            1. Jeffrey Toobin: “Why, thank you!”

            2. What a jerk.

              1. A dick and a jerk. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in the pants...

      2. Agreed Jesse no one ever turns their camera on which is great since I don't want to either. Ken: All the old school Dm's I know don't let anyone play gnomes.

        1. I leave my camera off for a couple of reasons:

          1. Because I'm not camera ready. For most people this is undressed, uncombed hair, but for me it's just unphotogenic. I have a face made for radio.
          B. I don't want to show you where I am. My house is a mess, or I'm working from a bedroom, or whatever. The fakey backgrounds cover that some, but... why bother?

          The reason for an avatar might be so you can present something, in an environment, and both are presentable.

          That said, I think it's fucking stupid. If you can't see my body language I get no benefit from "in person" communications. If I can't see yours, I can't read you and understand you better. And THAT is the one genuine benefit of being in a room to do business over being on a zoom.

          Metaverse is good for games. Even as Stephenson described it, it was most used for social events and sword fighting.

          1. Being the only one that leaves your camera on makes it seem like you're craving attention when everyone else is leaving theirs off, too.

            1. I'm cognizant of that. In an environment when people should have cameras on, or when dealing with people whose teams require cameras, I leave mine on, regardless of my preference, to make the folks so required more comfortable.

              That said, I moved to a new team at work and, after I arrived, they all turn the cameras off. They were just waiting for an excuse not to be on camera all the time. I think I had a deleterious effect on the company culture there.

              I wonder if the appropriate literary labasting of cameras is not Stephenson's early work, but Infinite Jest. The bit about videophones and consumers wanting masks that looked better than they do in person rings true to me, and was the first thing I thought of when you were able to alter your backdrop. A lot truer than Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents, if only a little less hilarious.

      3. For certain types of meetings, I think it would be useful and cool to be able to have my teammates virtually appear around my kitchen table, like how Kingsman did their meetings. Or if we are looking at a part, it would be nice if everyone could virtually crowd around it in my family room and I can rotate it and point to parts of it for everyone to see (screen sharing the CAD drawing just isn't quite the same).

        Of course for the droning PowerPoint meetings, this won't be useful.

        1. I have a dream that real life tech will progress to MCU tech in my lifetime.

          It would be incredibly awesome to draw a house or project and be able to not only explode view any part I wanted, but virtually walk through with the client.

    2. I think this is how Nadella is selling the acquisition to shareholders because metaverse is hot right now, but Activision-Blizzard does effectively nothing for Microsoft.

      Before acquisition Microsoft has:
      * The undisputed best augmented reality technology
      * What I believe to be the 3rd most popular social VR site
      * Extensive tooling projects for building VR and AR stuff
      * Several prominent game studios that have already made VR games (largely poor ports of existing games, but still...)

      However, they are totally screwing the pooch because the head of their Xbox division is not on-board and their existing "Mixed Reality" teams are way under-resourced. Best example: Microsoft has their own VR headset effort, where they design the software and tracking algorithms, and OEMs build the actual hardware. Despite the fact that XBox's OS is very similar to Windows and that PlayStation VR was, until recently, the most popular headset, headsets built to Microsoft's specs are not compatible with Xbox, with the head of that division explicitly saying there isn't a market for it and doesn't expect that to change soon. Another example: it is nearly 3 years after Microsoft latest version of Hololens (their AR headset) was announced, yet there isn't even a rumor of what the next one will do or when it will be released. Unless it absolutely knocks people's socks off, I suspect that MS is losing its lead in AR.

      A-B doesn't really bring much to the table in VR, AR, or Metaverse. They do have the world's most popular MMORPG (World of Warcraft), but its underlying technology is over a decade old and is one of the least friendly communities in the genre (I'm sure that FPSes have worse communities, but given that WoW's closest competitor, FFXIV is known to be one of the best communities, it is clear that Blizzard is particularly unskilled at creating good online communities).

      Which is all a really long way to say: this acquisition makes total sense if MS wanted to get into mobile gaming. Or to bring on-board a bunch of really strong IPs. And they got a nice discount due to the PR storm engulfing the company. However, MS could have activated any number of its existing projects it has been barely sustaining and gotten much further for a fraction of what this will cost them. Other than generic 3D skills, I don't see what A-B brings to the table at all.

  6. Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley

    Stopped reading. Josh Hawley is an authoritarian shitbag who needs to be stripped naked, bound face to face with Elizabeth Warren, slathered in pig fat and dumped in the Everglades.

    Facebook was never, is not now, and never will be, a monopoly as federal law so defines. Whining will not make it so. As a business, nobody's going to be holding any bake sales for it; FB earned $39 billion last year. But they've done a shitty job of serving their customers the last year or two, and the free market (hey Reason-- remember Free Minds and Free Markets? Didn't think so) is going to teach Facebook the same merciless lesson it taught Yahoo!, and AOL, and Sears for that matter. And the politicians can just fuck off.

    1. Butt... Butt... Butt Parler PROMISED us a FREE SPEECH ZONE!!!

      https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/parler-app-ban-free-speech-trump-b1721710.html

      PARLER: ‘FREE SPEECH’ APP POPULAR WITH FAR-RIGHT FIGURES BANS PEOPLE FOR SPEAKING FREELY, USERS CLAIM

      Ha! HOW could they claim such things?!?!? They must be either witches, or vote-stealing DEMON-CRAPS!!! In either case, they must be BURNED at the stake!!!!

      1. Check out TRUTH Social’s ToS agreement. One of the most FYTW, we can do whatever we please to the users ToS I’ve ever seen.

        1. So don’t use it.

        2. "Check out TRUTH Social’s ToS agreement. One of the most FYTW"

          This is a flat-out lie, and White Mike's been called out by others for peddling it previously.
          It's a bog-standard ToS, and the only difference between it and Twitter is it's more plain spoken.

          Here's a link to the ToS so you can all read it yourselves and then tell Mike to fuck himself the next time he lies about it:
          https://truthsocial.com/terms-of-service/

          1. He’ll just move on to his next lie.

      2. Did you read the date on that article, you complete retard?

        "Thursday 12 November 2020"

        Before Parler had their hosting pulled and were shutdown by the Democrats on the lie that the J6 protesters planned "insurrection" and that Parler had refused to censor anyone.

        You just proved your team's J6 narrative regarding Parler was a lie.

        Does that make you a right-winger now, ᛋᛋqrlsy?

    2. Josh Hawley is an authoritarian shitbag who needs to be stripped naked, bound face to face with Elizabeth Warren, slathered in pig fat and dumped in the Everglades.

      On pay-per-view? I'd pay for that.

      1. Hey look, something we can agree on.

    3. Just because they aren't a monopoly doesn't mean they shouldn't follow normal contract laws.

  7. I use Tiktok almost exclusively over Youtube, FB, etc. I find more interesting/entertaining videos and information on what is really happening around the world. However, I have noticed the uptick in spoofed Tiktok accounts, more and more ads, and other bullshit. So they are a good source for info and entertainment but I see it being poisoned with garbage just like the other before it (i.e. Myspace, now Facebook, and hopefully Google/Alphabet).

  8. Never been on facebook or any of the other 'social' media site. i have no problem communicating with anyone I choose. I don't understand why people think these sites are so important . Then again, I work and have a life.

    1. "Then again, I work and have a life."

      VERY kinky! Investigators and Karens will come knocking at your door VERY soon!!! This kind of thing will NOT be allowed, dammit!!! It undermines the Digital OverLards of Unreality!!!

    2. You don’t have free time to create some “Church of” website proving to world you’re on the spectrum?!?!

      1. The intelligent, well-informed, and benevolent members of tribes have ALWAYS been resented by those who are made to look relatively worse (often FAR worse), as compared to the advanced ones. Especially when the advanced ones denigrate tribalism. The advanced ones DARE to openly mock “MY Tribe’s lies leading to violence against your tribe GOOD! Your tribe’s lies leading to violence against MY Tribe BAD! VERY bad!” And then that’s when the Jesus-killers, Mahatma Gandhi-killers, Martin Luther King Jr.-killers, etc., unsheath their long knives!

        “Do-gooder derogation” (look it up) is a socio-biologically programmed instinct. SOME of us are ethically advanced enough to overcome it, using benevolence and free will! For details, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Do_Gooders_Bad/ and http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Jesus_Validated/ .

  9. At some point, the tyrants are just go to have to come out and say normal people shouldn’t be able to communicate with each other easily.

    1. This.

      The “break up Facebook” hysteria, like the “break up Microsoft” hysteria from 20-plus years ago, is not about true antitrust. It is about attacking a communications-related business that grew large and wealthy (a) without cutting government in on the wealth and (b) without offering the government the ultimate means to control who says what. The “antitrust” angle is an attempt by the government to do what it always does when confronted by a new means for people to communicate: place it under the government’s thumb as soon as possible. See, e.g., radio, circa 1927.

      1. I think it’s simpler than that. There are people, and in increasing numbers, that simply think that for-profit businesses are bad for society, and the managers that run those businesses are evil. It’s way beyond communications.

        1. Remember, profit is what happens when you take advantage of customers.

  10. I don't think Facebook gives a toss if it sheds users, because the public Facebook pages are just a pretty little picture at the entrance of the castle.

    Like Google, Facebook is about collecting information. Not just "user' information, but everyone's information whether you've ever been there or not.
    You never signed up for Facebook? Well you still have a Facebook page. They pay to put spyware on every forum, newspaper site, porn site, YouTube channel, phone apps and recipe sites.
    If you don't have Brave you're browser is riddled with their trackers, and if you don't use a VPN they're logging your series of IP addresses, and they're definitely not anonymizing the info their amassing.

    People forget that Facebook started with help from the CIA, and that it and Google have been handing collected information over to the same without even being requested.

    And don't forget who paid to start it:

    Obama: ‘Google, Facebook Would Not Exist’ Without Government Funding

    That's why this article is meaningless. The part of Facebook that the cool kids are rejecting is just the butcher shop that acts as a front window for the mob. The real business is happening out back.

      1. Marxist Mammary-Bahn-Fuhrer wants to nationalize FacePooo!!! 'Cause Jesus said so!

        Lusts-after-your-web-sites Marxist “Christian Theological Expert” MammaryBahnFuhrer thinks that one of the Ten Commandments read as follows:
        Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Unless thy neighbor art a corporatist in Thine Righteous Eyes, in which case, Thou shalt steal ALL of their stuff & shit, howsoever Thy Power-Hungry Right-Wing Wrong-Nut Marxist Heart may desire.

        1. Take your meds and try again, ᛋᛋqrlsy.

          1. If only he’d take all his meds.
            With a bottle of vodka as a chaser.

  11. How about doing something about the two biggest monopolies in the country - the Democratic and Republican parties?

    1. How are both a monopoly?

      1. Funny

      2. They're not monopolies, but engage in anti-competitive behavior. When they collude to exclude third parties in debates. When they work together to gerrymander to create safe Democrat and Republican districts. When they make rules so that third party candidates don't make it on the ballot. When election officials are only Democrats and Republicans. If the equal time rule hadn't been suspended by a Democrat-Republican congress, we'd probably better more airtime by third parties. Several presidential debates are managed by Commission on Presidential Debates which is managed by the Democrat and Republican parties and make it a point to exclude third parties.

        1. Truth. Unlike the corporations that people claim are monopolies, the Democrat and Republican Duopoly is a genuine duopoly. They openly pass laws to control what third parties can do. People see them do this and no one cares. Because people too busy worshiping government to notice.

          The commentariat here hates the phrase "both sides" because they insist that only Democrats are evil, but this is a genuine duopoly and both sides are consciously colluding with each other. It's like football teams, they may compete but they are all members of the same corporation, the NFL.

    2. +1

      1. Okay Jeff, what does the Democratic Party have a monopoly on? Democrats? Same with the Republican party.

        That statement doesn't make any sense.

  12. Cheaters gotta cheat.

    "BEIJING -- Russian media reported on Wednesday that 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva had tested positive for a banned drug, after the ceremony to present her and her teammates with their Olympic gold medals was postponed for unexplained legal reasons."

    https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/33254263/russian-figure-skater-kamila-valieva-tested-positive-banned-drug-according-reports

    Conspiracy theorists will say that Putin dosed her without her knowledge--knowing she'd be tested--to make the Russian people think the world is out to get them ahead of an invasion of Ukraine.

    I don't think it really matters why she tested positive--so long as she tested positive. The chances of the greatest skater in history being the only one that provokes a false positive seems unlikely, but maybe that's what happened, too. Who knows?

    1. Just Say Nolympics

      1. It's also weird that they didn't release the test results until after the competition and she won.

        "Prominent journalist Vasily Konov, deputy general producer at Russian sports channel Match-TV, said without citing sources that the sample in question had been taken two months ago."

        ----Ibidem

        Why didn't they release the results of this test until after competition? That just makes it look like they were stuffing the ballot box. If she hadn't won a medal, would they have never released the results? They should have objected to her participating when they tested her two months ago.

        1. All are tested before competitions.

          Winners are tested again after competitions.

          1. How does that contradict what I wrote?

            Why didn't they release the test results if they did the test month(s) ago?

    2. I think a more common reaction to this would be, "OH MY GOD! PUTIN IS DOPING LITTLE GIRLS TO WIN MEDALS!"

      The kid is 15. I think most Americans would see this as child abuse.

    3. Too much riding on games.

  13. "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” - Ronald Reagan.

    Looks like we'll be moving into the 'subsidize it' phase shortly.

    1. You're missing half the quote.

      “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” - Ronald Reagan

    1. I guarantee those are crocodile tears.
      The man bought himself a government the last election, and arranged his own whistleblower to help encourage regulations to kill competition.

  14. In the looking run, we’re all dead.

    Meanwhile, Facebook is being replaced by another government created and controlled monopoly.

  15. https://twitter.com/ChuckCallesto/status/1491444992501764096?t=tjmAhfPvjygWRZZLc0nqYA&s=19

    BREAKING REPORT: Geomagnetic Storm WIPES OUT 40 of the 49 SpaceX STARLINK SATELLITES launched into orbit last week...

  16. O/T: Well, it looks like a stock trading ban is on its way.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/09/congress-moves-towards-banning-members-from-trading-stocks.html

    I'm totally fine with a stock trading ban for members of Congress.
    It is not "unfair"; consider it a condition of employment.

    What is more problematic however is if the ban is applied to the member's family. They did NOT choose to run for office.

    1. Won't happen. Members of Congress leave office millionaires in part because they're exempt from insider trading laws.

      1. I would agree. Probably more posturing than substance. There will be loopholes built into the bill.

    2. Read up on insider trading. If you have insider information you can't use it for yourself, share with friends or family. Basic SEC rules. You think they shouldn't apply to family of Congress critters with inside information?

      As an example, a week before the Biden admin announced its decision to move to EV vehicles for its transportation the Pelosi's loaded up on Tesla stock through her husband. Fair or unfair?

      Career choices are a family matter.

    3. What is more problematic however is if the ban is applied to the member's family. They did NOT choose to run for office.

      Depends on the family member. Pelosi's husband litteraly trades stocks & options to profit from legislation Pelosi files. They're colluding. If nothing else, insider trading laws need to apply.

  17. Microsoft. Yes, a monopoly. And yes, they resorted to shady and borderline practices to maintain it. Like a Windows that checked if you were running Microsoft's DOS or DR's DOS. Dirty pool in my book. Agreements with computer manufacturer's not to sell ANY computers without Windows. Etc.

    Of course, we didn't need an anti-trust lawsuit to fix this. Just the marketplace.

    Today we have two free and open source web browsers that more people use than use Internet Explorer. Plus another for Apple, plus a few others for mobile and embedded.

    Today the biggest selling operating system is... wait for it... Linux! That's because it's Linux that's the at the heart of Android. Microsoft tried their own mobile phone by dirty dealing with Nokia, which led to the rapid demise of Nokia. No one uses Windows phones. So they shoved that UI into Windows 8. Then dropped it for Windows 10 because everyone hated it.

    Back during the antitrust timeframe, my company tried to use Windows for its embedded system. It was disaster. Today Windows may still rule on the corporate desktop, but no one is using it for embedded devices and systems.

    And buying a new computer from a name brand supplier without Windows? Actually pretty easy. My last computer come with an "Ubuntu Inside" sticker on it. From Dell.

    So yeah, no monopoly can survive the marketplace for long. The network effect (people using what everyone else is using) is strong, but it's not synonymous with monopoly.

  18. My dad used to say "Every dog has has day.". So the message here is wait a couple of decades and boy will they get their comeupins.

  19. Just because Facebook slowed its growth, that doesn't mean that it's going the way of the dodo bird.

    I remember that push against Microsoft monopoly in the late 90s. The government had one solution - simply purchase Apple computers instead of windows computers, or switch to Netscape as the standard browser instead of MS Internet Explorer. They didn't do either. I thought that was a little hypocritical - every government office at every level used, and still use, Windows computers and MS-Office, even though there are plenty of other options.

  20. Once again Reason takes the anti-free market position, and argues it as if none of the editors have ever been to an Econ class.

  21. What I find frightening about Facebook is the anonymous faces of the people who control it on a daily basis. It's like an Orwellian universe or even a Kafkaesque one.

    Our son, who is twenty two - we are living in UK - had been banned five times from FB, because someone flagged him. We don't know who. nobody answered to our complaints. The problem is that my son being autistic, he has difficulties in finding friends, and for him FB was really stimulating. He was mainly on ancient Greek and Roman history groups and some religious ones. like Hinduism.

    Why was he banned? He is using now my FB page, let's see how much it lasts.

    I used myself for a couple of years FB - but in my country of origin, somewhere in Eastern Europe - and even there people are complaining all the time about abusive decisions by an always anonymous FB person... One guy even said: "after six months of war with FB, banning me for no reason all the time, I simple give up. I lost and that's it".

    Ok, my friend, you lost a war, but you never got to see the Face of your ... "enemy"... and you never will...

  22. Facebook, in it’s best days, never much impressed me, and it certainly doesn’t now.

  23. MySpace still exists. I assume some people still use it.

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