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What is the effect of Broadcasting networks encouraging people to follow them on specified social networks?

July 14, 2011

Huge Broadcasting networks nowadays include in their protocol the establishment of Accounts in different social networks like Twitter, Facebook etc. This kind of strategy helps them communicate and advertise more effectively. However, does specifying a certain social network promote unfair competition or at least restrain “Free Competition” in the Social network Industry? I strongly believe in the positive. To start with, let us first define what social networking is. Social Network is the practice of expanding the number of one’s business and/or social contacts by making connections through individuals. Social Networking sites attract businesses to purchase ad space from them. That is one but big way these social networking sites earn. Broadcasting corporations, whom are also engaged in advertising through different modes of communication link themselves through these Social Networking sites by simply creating accounts. Hence, the mention of the names of these top 3 Social Networking sites is made frequently thereby creating a large disparity among social networking sites. To my mind, this kind of scenario creates monopoly in the Social Networking Industry. According to the following US cases, as cited by John Gokongwei v. SEC, Gr. No. L-45911, to wit:
“The terms “monopoly”, “combination in restraint of trade” and “unfair competition” appear to have a well defined meaning in other jurisdictions. A “monopoly” embraces any combination the tendency of which is to prevent competition in the broad and general sense, or to control prices to the detriment of the public. Love v. Kozy Theater Co., 236 SW 243, 245, 26 ALR 364″
“In short, it is the concentration of business in the hands of a few. The material consideration in determining its existence is not that prices are raised and competition actually excluded, but that power exists to raise prices or exclude competition when desired. Aldea-Rochelle, Inc. v. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, D.D. N.Y., 80 F. Suppl. 888, 893”
“Further, it must be considered that the Idea of monopoly is now understood to include a condition produced by the mere act of individuals. Its dominant thought is the notion of exclusiveness or unity, or the suppression of competition by the qualification of interest or management, or it may be thru agreement and concert of action. It is, in brief, unified tactics with regard to prices. National Cotton Oil Co. v. State of Texas, 25 S.T. 379, 383, 49 L. Ed. 689.”
However, though monopoly is created, no law has been violated by these Broadcasting Corporations. The reason is that the closest law that could apply is Art. 186 par (2) of the RPC. It states that:

“2. Any person who shall monopolize any merchandise or object of trade or commerce, or shall combine with any other person or persons to monopolize and merchandise or object in order to alter the price thereof by spreading false rumors or making use of any other article to restrain free competition in the market”
The scenario excludes the fact of intent of the Broadcasting corporations to monopolize any object of trade. To my mind, mere creation of an account and mention of these top sites is not tantamount to intent to monopolize nor any combination with other person to monopolize or restrain trade was committed.



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