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News18 » Tech
2-min read

Facebook Marks TikTok as Major Global Rival During Antitrust Hearing

Speaking at the antitrust hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Facebook executive Matt Perault noted how TikTok offers a product that is not within the feature suite of Facebook.

Shouvik Das | News18.com@distantvicinity

Updated:July 17, 2019, 9:13 PM IST
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Facebook Marks TikTok as Major Global Rival During Antitrust Hearing
Facebook representative at hearing, global policy development head Matt Perault. (Photo: Fox Business)

Facebook appeared in front of a House Judiciary Committee at the US Capitol yesterday for an antitrust hearing, alongside fellow Big Tech firms Amazon, Apple and Google. During the opening questions, Facebook's head of global policy development, Matt Perault raised an interesting point when he singled out TikTok as one of the competitors that offer features in the social media space that Facebook and its apps do not have. When asked about what features do Facebook and its suite of services do not have that any potentially competing company may have, Perault said, "I think there are probably many different answers to that question. For instance, I understand that TikTok has focused on public sharing, which is one of the features that our company might be interested in the future."

Perault raised TikTok's reference for a second time in the evening, when asked to clearly denote which firms do Facebook face competition from in its core business area, making a clear acknowledgement of Bytedance-owned TikTok as a major global rival in the social media space, and possibly the only one. Among the many accusations directed at Facebook, one of the biggest ones is its anti-competitive market practices, which particularly came to light with the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as the introduction of the 'Stories' feature across all of its platforms -- something that social media rival Snapchat had initially created and used as its primary operational model.

The acknowledgement from Perault, one of Facebook's highest ranking executives, came at a time when the social media giant is being speculated to be creating a New Product Experimentation (NPE) team in order to present a service that rivals the format of platforms such as TikTok. Facebook is known to have hired Jason Toff, who had once served as the general manager of Vine, Twitter's failed short video service, and all of these elements taken together have compelled many to speculate that the publicly broadcasted instant video platform is what's on Facebook's radar, next. With Perault giving a near-affirmation of the same, it is clear that TikTok's upsurge in the social media space has grabbed the eyeballs at Facebook.

The anti-competitive hearings against Big Tech firms look set to continue, with a pile of unaddressed lawsuits of a varying nature pegging down each of the Big Tech quartet. Of late, there has been a strong calling for a need to regulate the technology behemoths to control their seemingly unchecked power, and yesterday's antitrust hearing was one of the first straws that addressed issues such as breaking up the Big Tech firms in order to be regulated more efficiently. Under such conditions, it is unclear if it would be prudent of Facebook to directly target what is probably the only significant social media rival.

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