Facebook is where you check the latest happenings with your family, liking or loving (with the Facebook emojis, of course) photos of the newest addition to the family, a sibling’s promotion or a friend’s ironic take on the COVID-19 lockdown. Or you can show sympathy for an acquaintance’s lost loved one, a cousin’s unsuccessful team or a co-worker’s bad haircut.
It’s also in the news by way of reports from Congress, revelations from U.S. intelligence services and warnings from advocacy groups.
National security officials tell us the platform is among the ways that Russian operatives manipulated public opinion during the 2016 election and continue to do so right now. The House Judiciary Committee recently released the results of a 15-month investigation into the anticompetitive practices of digital platforms, including Facebook.
In June, the Omidyar Network released a report, “Roadmap for an Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” which prompted this Seattle Times special section.
The case is complex. The tendrils of Facebook entwine with our politics, our consumer habits and the news we see — and don’t see — in ways that pose challenges for our democracy and our economy.
In this series of seven columns, Seattle Times journalists and antitrust advocates discuss the muscle and menace of Facebook’s market power and explore possible solutions. Publisher Frank Blethen’s column discusses what you can do to help this effort.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on this project. Send us a letter of no more than 200 words with the subject line “Facebook” to: Letters@seattletimes.com
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— THE HARMS —
— DEFINITIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS —
— MARKET POWER —
— BARRIERS TO ENTRY —
— PRIVACY —
— ANTI-COMPETITIVE CONDUCT —
— MOVING FORWARD —
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WHAT YOU CAN DO
Read the “Roadmap for an Antitrust Case Against Facebook” report.
Let our congressional delegation know you support reform.
Follow legislative and related industry developments every Wednesday and Sunday in The Seattle Times Opinion’s Save the Free Press columns.
Sign up for our new biweekly Voices for a Free Press newsletter.
Sign up for Eli Sanders’ Wild West newsletter exploring the landscape of tech regulation.
Let your governor and state representatives know you support the state looking into ways to help.