Facebook documents offer a treasure trove for Washington’s antitrust war


Documents collected by whistleblower Frances Haugen could give the company “a lot to regret” in its fights to prove it’s not a monopoly.

Facebook likes to portray itself as a social media giant under siege — locked in fierce competition with rivals like YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat, and far from the all-powerful goliath that government antitrust enforcers portray.

But internal documents show that the company knows it dominates the arenas it considers central to its fortunes.

Previously unpublished reports and presentations collected by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen show in granular detail how the world’s largest social network views its power in the market, at a moment when it faces growing pressure from governments in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. The documents portray Facebook employees touting its dominance in their internal presentations — contradicting the company’s own public assertions and providing potential fuel for antitrust authorities and lawmakers scrutinizing the social network’s sway over the market.

The internal metrics show that 78 percent of American adults and nearly all U.S. teenagers use the company’s services— and that while competitors like TikTok and Snap have made inroads with 13- to 17-year-olds, they lag behind Facebook and its photo app Instagram on core values like sharing and community.

“We do not have the number-one product for all use cases in all markets,” the employees wrote in one newly obtained presentation from 2018, which said “Facebook-the-company” was doing “okay” but not yet “great” with teens worldwide. “But we do have one of the top social products — with growing market share — almost everywhere.”

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