The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States has again filed a lawsuit against Facebook. The agency asked the company to sell two subsidiaries of Instagram and WhatsApp.
Lawsuit Accepted by Facebook
The revised lawsuit contains Facebook’s monopoly over social networks in the US. The social media founded by Mark Zuckerberg is also considered to make it difficult for other companies to compete, quoted by The Independent, Friday (20/8/2021).
The latest lawsuit comes nearly two months after a federal judge dismissed the first lawsuit. The reason at that time was that the FTC did not provide enough evidence about the monopoly allegations made by Facebook.
The new case comes amid growing scrutiny over Facebook’s size and power, and the way it buys out competitors as it grows.
The case refers to Mark Zuckerberg’s 2008 email that said it was ‘better to buy than compete’. FTC lawyers say Facebook acts according to that strategy, tracking its competitors and buying when the company is big enough to pose a threat.
Those purchases included Instagram and WhatsApp. Mark Zuckerberg is also known to be active in integrating the three platforms with the aim of making it easier for users, although critics say this is done to make it difficult for regulators to break down the three.
The case accuses Facebook of operating a private social networking service monopoly in the US. The company’s closest competitor is Snapchat, which has fewer users than one of the Facebook-owned apps.
In addition, Facebook is also accused of operating in such a way and using the company it bought to create a protective “wall” around the monopoly. The FTC said Facebook would continue to make purchases if it wasn’t discontinued.
Facebook is also aware of the lawsuit. In a tweet Thursday (19/8/2021), the company said it was reviewing the FTC’s amended lawsuit and promised to talk more as soon as possible.
Facebook: No Monopoly
Launching the CNN page, the company also called the lawsuit inappropriate. Facebook is also adamant that it is not a monopoly.
“Our acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were reviewed and approved several years ago and our platform policies are legal,” Facebook said.
Facebook added, “The FTC’s claim is an attempt to rewrite antitrust laws and overturn expectations that have been resolved from the merger review, telling the business community that there was no sale. We struggle to win people’s time and attention every day and we will continue to defend our company with vigorously”.
The court’s deadline for responding to the complaint is until October 4.
The accusations were led by FTC chairman Lina Khan, who is an outspoken critic of the technology industry. Last year he found Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google were abusing dominant market positions to maintain their power.
Facebook has also asked Lina Khan to step down from the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit. Meanwhile, on Thursday, the FTC announced that his boss would not resign.
“As this case will be prosecuted before a federal judge, appropriate constitutional due process protection will be provided to the company,” the FTC said in a statement.