Today’s testimony by Mark Zuckerberg in front of a Senate joint committee was often boring or redundant with previous statements. But there was an exchange near the two hour mark that was pleasantly refreshing: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) doggedly pursuing a common-sense answer from Zuckerberg on the question of whether it had any real competition. Graham doesn’t let Zuckerberg employ his spin on the admittedly complex question of what Facebook’s competitors are. Demanding a simpler answer by employing a folksy car-buying metaphor, he makes it clear that at least from one perspective, Facebook is more or less without a real competitor — with the possible exception of Instagram, which it of course opted to buy for a fortune rather than allow it to exist as a credible rival. The Senator also makes it clear that he doesn’t think Facebook should be allowed to self-regulate — but his invitation to Zuckerberg to collaborate on rules sure sounds like he wants the company to have a say in how it should or should not be bound by law. I’ve transcribed the exchange below: Graham: Who’s your biggest competitor? Zuckerberg: Senator, we have a lot of competitors. Graham: Who’s your biggest? Zuckerberg: Mmm… I think the categories of… do you want just one? I’m not sure i can give one. But can I give a bunch? Graham: Mmhm. Zuckerberg: So there are three categories I would focus on. One are [sic] the other tech platforms, so Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, we overlap with them in different ways. Graham: Do they do, do they provide the same service that you provide? Zuckerberg: Um, in different ways, different parts of it yes. Graham: Let me put it this way. If I buy a Ford and it doesn’t work well and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product that i can go sign up for? Zuckerberg: Ah well, the second category that i was going to talk about was… Graham: I’m not talking about categories. I’m talking about is there real competition you face. Because car companies face a lot of competition. If they make a defective car, it gets out in the world, people stop buying that car, they buy another one. Is there an alternative to Facebook in the private sector? Zuckerberg: Yes Senator, the average American uses 8 different apps… Graham: OK.…

Source: TechCrunch – Social ‘You don’t think you have a monopoly?’ Read Sen. Graham’s delightful grilling of Zuckerberg