British watchdog action against Facebook on Giphy proves it has teeth

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Labyrinthine Covid Reminder System Is The Real Reason For The Delays


Big tech has two faces. A Face presents a new form of business: inclusive, socially liberal, very fashionable, supporting Democrats rather than Republicans, and unlike anything that came before.

Remove your makeup and another face appears: the face of a monopoly seeking to protect itself from its rivals. Over the years, the giants of Silicon Valley have used their financial clout to buy out smaller companies that could pose a threat to their market power.

Facebook’s acquisition of online image platform Giphy was just the latest example of big tech gobbling up competition, as in their day Amazon, Google, and Apple all adopted the same tactic. It is not a new form of capitalism: it is the old form of spread capitalism.

To his credit, the UK’s competition watchdog has now seen enough of this kind of anti-competitive behavior and has insisted that Facebook sell Giphy in its entirety – the first time it has demanded a deal involving one of the big tech companies to be unwound.

The Autorité de la concurrence et des marchés ruling said the acquisition would increase Facebook’s “already significant market power” in two ways – by driving traffic to Facebook-owned sites and by forcing competitors such as Twitter and Snapchat to provide more user data to access Giphy gifs. .

UK regulators are sometimes accused – often with justification – of being captured by the companies they are supposed to control. This criticism cannot be addressed to the AMC, which has proven itself to be a watchdog with real teeth.

There is no doubt that the CMA’s decision to take on Facebook rather than Giphy represents an escalation of the battle between regulators and big tech. The issue is more than just ensuring competition between social media platforms and that innovation is encouraged rather than stifled – as important as these issues are.

The new monopolists are as rich as the robber barons of yesteryear, but they wield much more influence. The CMA’s decision is important because it suggests that regulators are starting to ask themselves a simple question: Can this power and influence be wielded responsibly or does the public interest require big tech to be dismantled? in the same way that Standard Oil was dismembered in 1911?

Erdoğan loses his economic war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan must have welcomed the latest growth figures for his country. Production increased 2.7% in the third quarter, 7.4% per year, and is now 12% above its pre-pandemic level. For Erdoğan, it will prove that the faint of heart are wrong to doubt his unorthodox approach to economic policy, in which the response to rising inflation is to cut interest rates rather than raise them.

Maybe Erdoğan is the maverick economic genius he clearly thinks he is. But after asking the central bank to cut interest rates for three consecutive months, inflation is approaching 20% ​​and the currency is in free fall. Its latest fall on Tuesday brought it to an all-time high against the US dollar.

Erdoğan’s response was to say that Turkey is waging an economic war of independence. If so, it is a war his country is losing. Third quarter growth figures are now history and the economy is sure to contract in the last three months of 2021. Hyperinflation is looming and at some point the brakes will be on. It’s a matter of when not if.

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