In July we wrote about the United States’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its ongoing investigation into Facebook with regard to purchasing of smaller social media platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp. At the time it was believed the investigation would stretch into 2021, but new reports suggest an antitrust lawsuit could be filed against Facebook before the end of the year.
This according to reports by The Wall Street Journal (paywall) and Bloomberg, with both publications citing an unnamed person granted anonymity in this ongoing investigation, that a lawsuit may materialise in the coming months.
At the time of writing neither Facebook nor the FTC have provided comments to these reports.
If it does get filed, the antitrust lawsuit would be one of the latest decisions that the FTC has taken in trying to monitor and curb the dominance on big tech firms in the industry.
Recently we saw the CEOs of companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook all offer up statements to the US Congress in an antitrust hearing, but the events seemed to have little impact or indeed outcome.
This also follows the FTC interrogating CEO Mark Zuckerberg back in July, where internal emails sent between executives at the company were brought up in regard to their $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.
Said emails described the proposed deal at the time as an opportunity to, “neutralize a potential competitor”. Zuckerberg himself is also said to have stated that, “can likely always just buy any competitive startups,” although the CEO did not recall making such a statement.
Either way, it looks like the way that big tech firms operate and the dominance that they have is coming under the spotlight once again. If the FTC is serious about the matter, it should be interesting to see the details of the antitrust lawsuit, and what will happen after it is filed.