👀 DeepFake Videos Go Too Far

They don't "Zuck" anymore. A deeper lesson on monopolies.

This is The Level Ups. Modern business news for the future business leader (in plain-Jane English).

Today:

  • The monopoly man transforms into Mark Zuckerberg in an insane video.

  • Why do this?

  • Where the monopoly issue started.

Let’s get into it.

Estimated reading time:

DeepFakes Don’t Zuck Anymore

Advocacy group Demand Progress Action released a video ad featuring a realistic Zuckerberg to get US Senators to pass antitrust legislation.

They made a good point. Video’s a little too close to the real thing for me:

We’ve reached a point where it’s nearly impossible for the naked eye to see the differences.

The people I shared it with couldn’t tell it was fake. Neither could I.

The announcement is clear: fake Zuckerberg is thinking members of the Senate for holding back laws that keep companies like Meta accountable. They say that while Zuckerberg is fake, the message is real.

The video sure is scary, but what is fake Zuck talking about here?

Meta’s Been Fighting This Battle For Years:

The company has been fighting lawmakers since the Facebook days.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTX), sued Facebook/Meta for illegal monopolization in December 2020.

Zuckerberg attended multiple Congress hearings regarding “anti-trust” issues back in 2018.

The hearings were a joke. Most of the lawmakers didn’t understand what was going on. Mark explained how the internet works to them.

Here are the highlights:

Doesn’t stop the FBI from having a Facebook page though…

The Great Issue: Monopolies:

It blows my mind that the best coverage of the monopoly issue came from Teen Vogue, but I’m okay with it.

“Monopoly” refers to corporations with excessive unchecked, private power over our lives. That’s the simple definition.

In business, monopoly typically refers to companies that have (by their design) unchecked pricing power (zero competition).

Facebook is clearly in contention for both.

When their platform goes down, it’s not just Facebook and Meta. Instagram, WhatsApp, and whatever other companies they own also go down. Think about what that does to communication in the west.

While Facebook argues it does compete with TikTok, Snap, and iMessage, I'm not convinced. TikTok is new, and Facebook tried to buy Snap anyway (at least they’re acting like monopoly status isn’t the goal).

Monopolies have tremendous power in our society. It’s why gun controls are such a big issue in the USA. Monopolies greatly influence how laws are decided (by lobbying and funding politicians).

Facebook isn’t about guns. It’s about data. Should one company have so much?

This group says no, and made an impressive video to get the point across.

Where This All Started:

Business legend Peter Thiel (advisor to Mark Zuckerberg and Meta) gave a 2014 talk at Stanford titled: Competition is for Losers.

I wonder where Zuckerberg got the idea to create a monopoly…

Peter Thiel has had a lot of history with the media, but that’s a story for another time.

You can check the talk he gave Standford if you like.

In it, his advice is clear (short summary):

  • Create a monopoly on one thing (like how Google has a monopoly on “search advertising”).

  • Then, tell people you don’t have a monopoly by changing the definition of your business.

  • Google is not a “search advertising” company. They’re just an advertising company.

  • BTW, Google’s ads are responsible for 78.8% of its revenue ($54.5B out of $69.1B). It’s the most important part of their business.

  • By changing the definition, you can have a monopoly without admitting it. The general advertising industry is valued at just over $590B. Google doesn’t look like as much of a monopoly now. Right?

  • But in “search advertising,” Google’s market share is anywhere from 86% - 96%. Now it’s looking like a monopoly. It's all in the definitions.

And that’s how it works.

It’s also what Facebook did with “social advertising” before TikTok and Snapchat were worth talking about.

Wrapping Up:

Now the question is:

Will the video work? Will any laws change?

Time will tell.

Thanks for reading!

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Darwin