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How social networks got competitive again

Had Clubhouse or Substack emerged in 2013 or 2014, it’s not hard to imagine Facebook racing to acquire them and knock them off the chessboard. But in 2021, when Facebook faces a formal antitrust review in the United Kingdom over its acquisition of a failing GIF search engine, the company can only sit back and try to copy what others are doing better.

If that’s the case, it suggests that the half-assed response to Facebook’s growing dominance over the past half-decade nonetheless got us, however belatedly, to a better place. Antitrust pressure made it extremely difficult for the company to make acquisitions, opening a window just big enough for new entrants to climb through.


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