This week, the Federal Trade Commission alongside 48 state attorneys officially filed an antitrust lawsuit deeming Facebook an illegal monopoly. The move could require the tech giant to sell Instagram and WhatsApp as the purchases serve as evidence of anticompetitive behavior.
“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in an official statement. “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”
The decision comes after a long-standing battle from various critics that have accused the technology company of monopolizing the market in addition to privacy concerns and the spread of false news and misinformation on the platform.
In the video, Conner says that the social media corporation has unfairly taken over the market making it almost impossible for competitors to survive in the field. “The Commission’s complaint alleges that Facebook undertook a years-long effort to maintain its monopoly through anticompetitive acquisitions and actions that target potential and nascent rivals,” he said in the video statement.
“Today’s enforcement action aims to restore competition to this important industry and provide a foundation for future competitors to grow and innovate without the threat of being crushed by Facebook. The Commission’s requested relief includes unwinding Facebook’s prior acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and barring Facebook from engaging in additional anticompetitive practices that have helped it dominate the personal social networking market.”
Politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been strong opponents against Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership over the social media company. “Zuckerberg has been justifying Facebook’s increasingly disturbing decisions by acting like the company is some innocent, neutral bystander,” she wrote on Twitter back in 2019 during Zuckerberg’s hearing before the House Financial Services Committee in a video that has since gone viral on social media.