Law Prof Explains Why the Facebook Antitrust Case Focuses on Mark Zuckerberg’s Emails

Mark Zuckerberg frowning
Getty/Chip Somodevilla

A recent article written by a Vanderbilt University law professor explains why much of the antitrust case recently filed against Facebook relies heavily on emails from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

In an article published in the Conversation titled “Why Facebook Antitrust Case Relies So Heavily on Mark Zuckerberg’s Emails,” Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor of law at Vanderbilt University, explains why a large portion of the recent antitrust lawsuit filed against Facebook relies on the emails of the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Some of the emails, as previously covered by Breitbart News, describe the “Wrath of Mark” that upstart competitors would face if they didn’t sell out to the Masters of the Universe.

Allensworth writes that the same tactic has worked against big tech companies in antitrust lawsuits before:

The case against Facebook bears similarities to U.S. v. Microsoft, the landmark 2001 case that found the software company liable for monopolization. Here, the FTC will have to prove that Facebook, like Microsoft, acquired its market power in the social media market by excluding rivals, not merely by making a great product. And in both cases, internal statements by executives play a big role.

The emails will likely add to arguments that Facebook did not purchase companies just to improve their own product but rather to remove competitors:

So in most monopolization cases, courts get stuck if they try to use only market facts to answer the ultimate question: Did the monopolist flourish because of the improvements or because of diminished competition?

That’s where “intent evidence” – information about what a defendant was thinking – can help. If a CEO intended a merger to insulate her company from competition, it likely did in fact insulate the company from competition. Judges will attribute some of the company’s dominance to exclusion, and that violates the antitrust laws.

Allensworth finishes the article by stating that she’s shocked at the paper trail left by Zuckerberg appearing to show plans to destroy competitors:

What I find truly remarkable about this case is not the volume of internal quotes in the complaint, but the paper trail a sophisticated CEO like Zuckerberg created of Facebook’s transgressions – which is now why a federal antitrust lawsuit poses an existential threat to his company.

Read the full article at the Conversation here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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