How to evolve antitrust?

Ben Thompson watched Facebook’s F8 Developer conference, and comes away with some important observations:

Last year, before Facebook realized it could just leverage its network to squash Snap, Mark Zuckerberg spent most of his presentation laying out a long-term vision for all the areas in which Facebook wanted to innovate. This year couldn’t have been more different: there was no vision, just the wholesale adoption of Snap’s, plus a whole bunch of tech demos that never bothered to tell a story of why they actually mattered for Facebook’s users. It will work, at least for a while, but make no mistake, Facebook is the only winner.

There are similar concerns around Amazon, which we talked about here before.

The rise of platform quasi-monopolists is a defining feature of software-based markets, which has competitors in industries that are currently or in the near future be impacted by the intrusion of software angling for a spot to reap platform economies.

It seems clear that antitrust regulation needs to evolve to establish a broader inclusion of market distortions than just consumer benefit. Amazon is predominantly a monopsonist, that is an actor with overwhelming purchasing power, rather than a monopolist, but the effects on competition are no less severe.

In the same vein, it seems Facebook has only just started to begin how they can use their massive attention platform, with devastating effects on the competition and upstream suppliers.