Facebook aims to crush competition
The pushback against Facebook among the general population started a long time ago.
Probably 2010, in fact. That was the year that the movie The Social Network was released.
About the launch of Facebook — and the lawsuit that resulted out of it from the Winklevoss twins — the movie was, more or less, just a character assisignation on Mark Zuckerberg.
By all accounts, Zuckerberg didn’t really care that he came off as a bit of a donkey in the film. He is a bit of a donkey. His main concern was that the film gave too much credit to the Winklevoss twins and did not sufficiently portray him as the brilliant mind he feels he is.
Fair enough. It does seem unlikely that Facebook would have been as successful with a couple of privileged rowers running it, as it was with the clearly driven and demanding Zuckerberg.
You can say what you want about him and Facebook — he, and by extension the company, isn’t afraid to make himself/itself a target.
So, it’s not surprising that just a day after an antitrust argument against Facebook was dismissed in U.S. federal court that the company would be making headlines in an attempt to take on another Social Media upstart.
Facebook announced that it was going to establish Bulletin, a newsletter service that will feature several high profile writers and journalists on its launch. The move to add the feature is seen as a direct challenge to the emergence of Substack over the last year.
The privately owned Substack has attracted a lot of attention and high profile users by offering creator-friendly publishing tools and an easy monetization process. That, in turn, has gotten it a lot of eyeballs — eyeballs that are not on Facebook.
Zuckerberg can’t have that. So, he’s out to crush more competition, even when accused of unfairly crushing competition.
Then again, the evidence from yesterday suggests that he probably doesn’t have much to worry about. Although the U.S. government can file another argument — the case wasn’t dismissed, just the specific argument in its favour — it’s hard to see how they can come up with a compelling case in the month that they have to file.
The market seemed to agree that this was done yesterday. News of the argument being dismissed saw Facebook stock (NASDAQ: FB) rise sharply from $344 USD to $356.74. It’s since settled at $351.89, at the time of writing.
Whether Bulletin can take eyeballs away from the upstart Substack is another question.
Substack is popular with younger readers, who view Facebook as something that their grandparents share muffin recipes and conspiracy theories on. Getting them to log back in is going to take more than a newsletter service.
However, that might not matter. As long as Facebook can keep its base users happy — older users that don’t like change, particularly technology change — they will probably be fine for quite a while longer.
And, if a few feathers have to be ruffled along the way, so be it.
It’s not like anyone can stop them, Zuckerberg likely assumes.