19/08/2021

The Guardian

FTC renews antitrust complaint against Facebook

Facebook could be asked to sell WhatsApp, Instagram and potentially other businesses in order to ensure fair competition. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed an amended complaint against Facebook in an ongoing antitrust case. The FTC alleges Facebook undertook a "buy-or-bury" scheme where it illegally acquired competitors with mobile features to compensate for its own insufficient offerings. FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director Holly Vedova said, "Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile. After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat." Absent of competition, "Facebook has been able to hone a surveillance-based advertising model and impose ever-increasing burdens on its users." Furthermore, its actions "suppressed innovation and product quality improvements. And they have degraded the social network experience, subjecting users to lower levels of privacy and data protections and more intrusive ads." The FTC voted 3-2 to file the amended complaint, with Commissioner Christine Wilson issuing a dissenting statement. Follow the FTC Twitter thread and Facebook's response, which said it has reviewed the complaint and will issue a statement soon.

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