Skip to main content

Zuckerberg struggles to name a single Facebook competitor

Zuckerberg struggles to name a single Facebook competitor


‘Is there an alternative to Facebook in the private sector?’ asked Sen. Lindsey Graham

Share this story

In Zuckerberg’s testimony before a joint session between the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees today, the Facebook CEO was forced to confront whether his company was now effectively a monopoly. Concerns about Facebook’s monopoly status have surfaced over the last year, with growing calls to break up the company. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) first brought up the monopoly issue; later, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) noted that regulation “can cement the dominant power,” implying that in this case, Facebook is that dominant power.

“Who’s your biggest competitor?” Graham asked Zuckerberg. The CEO struggled to answer the question, naming Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft as “overlap[ing]” with Facebook in different ways.

“If I buy a Ford, and it doesn’t work well, and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?” Graham asked. When Zuckerberg attempted to again break down Facebook’s different types of services, Graham reiterated his question.

“I’m not talking about categories. I’m talking about real competition you face. ‘Cause car companies face a lot of competition. They make a defective car, it gets out in the world, people stop buying that car, they buy another one. Is there an alternative to Facebook in the private sector?”

Zuckerberg tried to give a longer answer about how the “average American uses eight different apps” to connect with their friends, attempting to frame Facebook as just one of many apps. Shortly thereafter, Graham cut to the chase and asked if Zuckerberg thought Facebook was a monopoly.

“It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me,” Zuckerberg replied, as laughter rippled through the room.

A transcript of the exchange follows below:

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Who’s your biggest competitor?

Mark Zuckerberg: Uh, senator, we have a lot of competitors.

LG: Who’s your biggest?

MZ: The categories… do you want just one? I am not sure I can give one but can I give a bunch? There are three categories that I would focus on. One are the other tech platforms: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, we overlap with them in different ways.

LG: Do they provide the same service you provide?

MZ: In different ways.

LG: Let me put it this way. If I buy a Ford, and it doesn’t work well, and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?

MZ: Well, the second category I was going to talk about…

LG: I’m not talking about categories. I’m talking about real competition you face. ‘Cause car companies face a lot of competition. They make a defective car, it gets out in the world, people stop buying that car, they buy another one. Is there an alternative to Facebook in the private sector?

MZ: The average American uses eight different apps to communicate with their friends and stay in touch with people ranging from text to email—

LG: Which is the same service you provide?

MZ: Well, we provide a number of different services.

LG: Is Twitter the same as what you do?

MZ: It overlaps with a portion of what we do.

LG: You don’t think you have a monopoly?

MZ: It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.


LG: Instagram. So you bought Instagram. Why did you buy Instagram?

MZ: Because they were very talented app developers who are making good use of our platform and understood our values…

LG: Is a good business decision. My point is: one way to regulate a company is through competition, through government regulation. Here’s my question, what do we tell our constituents, given what’s happened here, why we should let you self-regulate? What would you tell people in South Carolina, given all that’s happened here, why it would be a good idea for us to let you regulate your own business practices?

MZ: … well, Senator, my position is not that there should be no regulation…. I think the internet is becoming — 

LG: Do you embrace regulation?

MZ: I think the real question, as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives, is what is the right regulation —

LG: Do you as a company welcome regulation?

MZ: If it’s the right regulation, yes.

LG: Do you think the Europeans have it right?

MZ: I think that they get... things... right.


Update April 10th, 2:39 PM PT: This post has been updated with a quote from Sen. Dan Sullivan.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 40 minutes ago Dimorphos didn’t even see it coming

Thomas Ricker40 minutes ago
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.

Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.

The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.

Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.

Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.

External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?

Richard LawlerSep 26
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.

External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.

External Link
Emma RothSep 26
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.

External Link
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.

James VincentSep 26
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.

Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
The Verge
James VincentSep 26
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.

External Link
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard LawlerSep 26
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.