Are Facebook and Twitter Monopolies?

Are Facebook and Twitter monopolies? Here’s a quick look:

Facebook accounts for about 17 percent of all users, and the top four sites together account for about 50 percent. (Note that lots of people use multiple sites, so if you add up all the sites you’ll come up with far more than the 4 billion or so total users of social media.)

“Four firm concentration” is a quick and dirty way of assessing an industry, and a score of 50 percent is generally considered low to moderate. Just to give you an idea of the shape of things, here are some examples from the broad information services category:

At 50 percent, social media slots into the middle third, along with book publishers, TV broadcasters, and music publishers.

Note that this is strictly a measure of social media users. There are specific areas, such as online advertising, where the concentration level is considerably higher. However, if your concern is strictly about the influence these companies have over eyeballs, social media looks fairly normal.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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