Business Report: Facebook Under Government Scrutiny
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Photo by Jenny Kane / AP
Q: Let's start with Facebook. It has been a rough week for them. Nearly every state in the country is now part of an antitrust case. Is this social network in danger?
A: Facebook is really the poster child for the frustration that Congress and different regulatory agencies have with social media and online platforms. Originally, New York State announced an antitrust probe into Facebook for anti-competitive conduct. That probe started with seven states in September has (has) expanded to 47 states. That's on top of the Federal Trade Commission probe that was launched this summer after Facebook settled a $5 billion privacy case.
And it's been a really rough week for Facebook this week because Mark Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill and faced tough questions about his new libra cryptocurrency. Facebook and other social media companies are a little bit afraid of what kind of regulation might come their way. Because are they a media company or are they an enabling technology?
If you're a media company, you're regulated like a television network or a radio network. So even though Zuckerberg has invited a degree of regulation when he was in Washington in April, I think the results can be kind of damning. If they're going to divest anything, it's going to be brands like WhatsApp and Instagram and it would make Facebook a much smaller company.
Q: Another big tech story is 5G. San Diego's Qualcomm announced this week that they're going to focus on investing in 5G technology and innovators. Tell us about the investment. How big is it?
A: Qualcomm Ventures has been around for over 20 years. They've invested in over 350 deals. Some were for really well-known companies like Zoom, Waze, and Fitbit. They've set aside $200 million to invest in 5G enabling technology. Not just smartphone technologies, but things like smart cars, smart city sensors, factory floor robots and things like that. They estimate that by 2035, over $13 trillion in value will be created by 5G technologies and Qualcomm wants to be at the forefront of that.
Q: A brand that we all know and love here and PBS stations, Sesame Street, is coming to Chula Vista. Tell us about the reboot of SeaWorld Aquatica water park.
A: SeaWorld Entertainment has had a longtime affiliation with Sesame Street and they've been operating a Sesame Street park outside of Philadelphia since 1980. They're committed to roll out a second park by 2021 and they selected San Diego.
The Aquatica water park is an interesting site because it's big enough that they're going to port the same 18 land-based rides from Philadelphia to San Diego. They're going to take out some of the more aggressive water rides that are geared toward teenagers and young adults. It's going to really make San Diego, as a whole, a very family friendly city between Legoland, Sesame Street, the zoo and the Wild Animal Park.
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