The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook is imminent. The FTC and other government agencies feel that Facebook uses its large market share to quash competition in the social networking field.
The five members of the Commission met on Thursday to look into accusations that Facebook maintains its large market share by acquiring smaller rivals. The company bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
In an inquiry under oath in August, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company does not engage in antitrust practices. He pointed out that Facebook has worthy competitors, such as the Chinese-based video-sharing app TikTok.
However, all Facebook apps combined have a market value of a whopping $792 billion and more than 3 billion users, making the company the ultimate social networking giant.
The House Judiciary Committee, in an antitrust report released earlier this month, said that Facebook has grown so powerful that it “has tipped the market toward monopoly.” The report also claimed that “Facebook competes more vigorously among its own products – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger – that with actual competitors.”
The FTC has prepared three documents to prepare for the upcoming lawsuit. One document looks into some of the possible antitrust violations by the tech giant, another assesses its economics, and the last one analyzes the potential risks of litigation.
The agency has also collected thousands of internal documents from Facebook employees to help with investigations. It has even talked to Facebook’s rivals, such as Snap, the company that owns
Instagram competitor Snapchat, about its market dominance and antitrust practices.
This case is not the first time Facebook has landed in trouble with the FTC. However, in previous cases, the issue has been a violation of privacy.
Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee is considering introducing antitrust laws that could see the four big tech companies broken up.
The efforts to reduce Facebook’s market dominance and its fellow tech giants, Apple, Amazon, and Google, have increased and involve both conservatives and liberals.