When Antitrust Becomes Pro-Trust: The Digital Deformation Of U.S. Competition Policy

By Frank Pasquale

Digital platforms have exacerbated an old problem in American antitrust law — the tension between the efficiencies that mergers achieve in theory, and the pressure they inevitably create for firms in or adjacent to the industry of the merged firms, to themselves combine in order to better compete. But U.S. antitrust authorities have, by and large, refused to address this dynamic. They have instead clung to three myths to rationalize market power online: 1) The Myth of Easy Platform Switching; 2) The Myth of the Heroic Consumer; and 3) The Myth of Platforms Perfecting Markets. It is critical to debunk these three myths now, before they deform competition law beyond recognition.