Reuters reported that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking new steps in an antitrust case against Facebook Inc on Thursday. Specifically, the agency added more details about the allegation that this social network competes unfairly by crushing or acquiring competitors.
The FTC has once again pressed the court to force Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
The new complaint is up to 80 pages long – significantly longer than the original complaint and includes additional data to support the FTC’s allegation that Facebook is a monopoly. The extension of the complaint alleges that Facebook dominates the US personal social networking market with more than 65% monthly active users since 2012.
The FTC has accused Facebook of a “a plan to acquire or drown a competitor to disrupt the competition” in the press release of its complaint.
For its part, Facebook said it will continue to fight the lawsuit.
“Unfortunately, although the court dismissed the lawsuit and concluded that there was no basis for the claim, the FTC chose to continue with this futile lawsuit.“, a Facebook spokesperson said.The acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were reviewed and transparent by us many years ago. Also, our platform policies are legal“.
The FTC’s famous lawsuit against Facebook represents one of the most significant challenges the agency has faced a tech company in decades. The case is also being closely watched as Washington aims to reshape the massive market power of Big Tech.
“Despite making many customers unhappy, Facebook has reaped huge profits over a long period of time showing that it has monopoly power. Their personal social networking competitors are barely able to overcome barriers to entry and challenge Facebook’s dominance“, the content of the amended complaint wrote.
In an attempt to showcase Facebook’s dominance in the personal social network, the FTC’s complaint distinguishes the company from the short-video app TikTok and sites like Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest, which are said to be out of focus. Focus on connecting friends and family.
The revised complaint comes after Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in June that the FTC’s original complaint filed in December failed to provide evidence that Facebook had monopoly power in the social network market.
Starting in 2007, Facebook invited apps to its platform with the aim of making Facebook more attractive. However, later, Facebook seemed to realize that some applications could develop into competitors and they decided to end the program in 2013. However, under pressure from the European Union, Facebook had to restore this program.
An antitrust expert said he believes the court will find it difficult to order Facebook to sell Instagram or WhatsApp because they were purchased years ago.
Seth Bloom of Bloom Strategic Counsel added: “This is a clearer lawsuit when it gives many details that say that Facebook is dominating the social network“.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said she was pleased to see the FTC hold Facebook accountable for a “a long history of anticompetitive behavior“.
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