The American way of living features a little something called anti-trust. It is the group of laws that more or less prevents monopolies in any industry and vertical integration as a business practice. The largest cases in American history featured Standard Oil, which was broken up decades back in the name of fair competition.
That is the basis for all anti-trust laws: fair competition. In the tech world, there are a few giants and a whole lot of start-ups. The start-ups tend to get gobbled up by the tech giants and absorbed into their operations.
Legislation is out there and has been debated on limiting this practice, and, of course, there are groups that work to either stop this effort or limit its effectiveness. One such group is American Edge, which places ads in publications all over the country. The group is listed as a “non-profit,” but in truth, most non-profits are highly profitable. The interesting thing about American Edge is where its operating costs are coming from.
Backed by millions from Facebook-parent company Meta, American Edge has launched a full-throated campaign to combat antitrust legislation in Washington, placing op-eds in regional papers throughout the country, commissioning studies, and collaborating with a surprising array of partners, including minority business associations, conservative think tanks, and former national security officials. It’s a political playbook more common to other industries, including pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and telecommunications. But tech companies, under heightened scrutiny from federal regulators, are seizing on these methods. (Meta also paid a GOP consulting firm to malign TikTok, The Post reported in March.)
Well, isn’t that special. Facebook is paying for the campaign to keep from having to deal with competition.
As Facebook’s antitrust risks in Washington have grown, the group’s influence has expanded to new domains and a diverse mix of partners, a new investigation using copies of records obtained by the tech watchdog group Tech Transparency Project and viewed exclusively by The Washington Post illustrates. Tech Transparency Project receives funding from the George Soros-founded Open Society Foundations, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Bohemian Foundation, and Omidyar Network.
In advertisements and op-eds, American Edge plays on fears about the tech prowess of China, a talking point of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The group also argues, in ominous tones, that new antitrust laws will weaken the American tech sector, hurting the tools used by minority-owned small businesses and dismantling companies that could provide a line of defense against cyberattacks from an increasingly aggressive Russia.
Facebook is in more danger domestically than from anything coming from abroad.
That doesn’t change the fact that they are trying to buy their way into not having any competition.