Since May 2020, at the height of the initial wave of the pandemic, Facebook/Meta has not closed the day with a market capitalization below 600,000 million dollars. Not until yesterday, at least.
After a few days marked by announcements of loss of users (for the first time in its history) and threats to leave the European market (later denied), the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg seems to be in the doldrums .
But that specific limit of 600,000 million is not irrelevant: the fall in Meta’s shares (of 2.1%) has taken the company’s value to 599,320 million dollars, which places it below the threshold imposed by the US legislators to define which technology companies would be affected by the new regulatory projects on competition that are in the process of debate/approval in the US Congress.
Facebook will no longer be a ‘Big Tech’ for legal purposes
What does this mean? That if Meta manages to stay below said threshold, it could avoid the extra supervision and regulation that said bills will put on the shoulders of the rest of the big technology companies (Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft), and that will limit your freedom of operation.
“Is Facebook a monopoly?”: the confusing and at the same time crucial questions from the Senate to Zuckerberg
The projects have not yet been approved, and it is always possible that some legislator will still promote a downward change in said threshold, but for now we see Meta/Facebook in the paradoxical situation of seeing how a slight (albeit noisy) drop in their value as a company can become big news for their managers, thus freeing them from further accountability.
It seems inconceivable to think of laws ‘against Big Tech’ and find out that this category now does not include the owners of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. But Zuckerberg seems to be an expert in making a virtue of weakness: let us remember that 3 years ago he already managed to get a fine of 5,000 million dollars imposed on the company to make its shareholders richer.
For example, he would be exempted from complying with the Platform Competition and Opportunity Law, which prevents affected companies from acquiring new companies that are potential rivals. Yes, indeed, as WhatsApp was at the time, an acquisition (like that of Instagram) is currently being studied by the Federal Trade Commission under monopoly laws. still valid.
The evolution of the capitalization of Meta and the time that passes until the approval of these laws will be key, since there are different proposals for the period of time that should affect the inclusion of companies in the maximum technology industry division…
…the Senate proposes a “simple average of the closing price per share […] in the period of** 180 days** that ends on the date of enactment of this Law”, while the House of Representatives speaks of the previous “two years“.