“Who the heck consents to having an organization observe them throughout the web,” she remembered pondering. “They may solely do it as a result of that they had monopoly energy to do one thing that clearly goes towards client pursuits.”
After leaving the advert world in 2017, she spent the subsequent 12 months researching and writing a paper on why Fb was a monopoly. When she was completed, she submitted her paper to the web sites of a couple of dozen legislation opinions. To her shock, the Berkeley Enterprise Legislation Journal, which is related to the College of California, Berkeley’s legislation college, agreed to publish her work. Ms. Srinivasan stated she cried on the information.
Her Fb paper rapidly captured the eye of regulators. In March 2019, a month after it was revealed, Consultant David Cicilline, the Democratic chairman of the Home antitrust subcommittee, wrote a letter to the Federal Commerce Fee urging the company to investigate Facebook on antitrust grounds citing her paper amongst different works. The New York lawyer normal’s workplace later requested her to talk to its legal professionals about her work.
This 12 months, she took intention together with her Stanford Know-how Legislation Overview article on the different behemoth of the web advert world: Google. She defined the advanced world of on-line advert exchanges, the place show advertisements are offered and purchased in milliseconds. Ms. Srinivasan argued that Google dominates almost all aspects of those markets, representing consumers and sellers whereas additionally working the most important trade.
Whereas different digital buying and selling markets — particularly, monetary markets — are closely regulated to forestall conflicts of curiosity and unfair benefits of pace and inside data, on-line advert buying and selling is essentially unregulated. She argued that Google’s dominance inflated the worth of advertisements — an idea described as a “monopoly tax” within the multistate lawsuit led by Texas.
Marshall Steinbaum, an assistant professor on the College of Utah’s economics division, wrote on Twitter that Ms. Srinivasan’s articles on Google and Fb had a better affect on the just lately filed antitrust circumstances than all the opposite analysis about these firms or tech usually by conventional economists targeted on competitors coverage.
“Her papers are simply very clearly on level concerning the precise conduct of the platforms and its aggressive significance,” Mr. Steinbaum stated. “They’re useful to enforcers and are available from a perspective of somebody who clearly is aware of the trade and the details.”