Geoff Manne on Threads

CNN – ICLE President Geoffrey A. Manne was quoted by CNN in a story about the launch of the Instagram spinoff Threads. You can read full piece here.

If Threads puts pressure on Twitter to improve its service, that is a form of competition between apps, said Geoffrey Manne, founder of the Portland, Oregon-based International Center for Law and Economics.

But, he added, if it leads to a concentration of power in the social media industry more broadly, it could mean a reduction in competition overall. It all depends on how you define the market.

“I’m inclined to say it does both simultaneously, and the ultimate consequences aren’t so clear,” Manne said.

Rather than viewing it through the lens of a social media market, one helpful way to look at the issue is from the perspective of the advertising market, he said. It’s possible that once Threads introduces advertising — which Zuckerberg has said won’t happen until the app has increased to significant scale — Threads simply reinforces Meta’s advertising market power, Manne said. That could lead to further antitrust scrutiny for Meta even if the question about competition in social media is ambiguous.

Jeff Blattner, a former DOJ antitrust official, said it can only benefit consumers to have Threads as a rival to Twitter.

“Two platforms run by maniac billionaires are better than one,” he wrote on Threads — though if Threads is so successful as to effectively knock out Twitter altogether, then in some ways the original question about Meta’s dominance will still stand.