The United States Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against popular social media giant, Facebook.
The FTC believes that Facebook has been attempting to suppress competition ever since becoming a global force to be reckoned with around the 2010s.
According to public case files, the regulator alleges that Facebook purchased or replicated features exhibited by companies within the same industry who pose a threat to the company’s spot as the dominant social media force. The lawsuit cites the purchase of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp 4 years later as solid proof of the firm’s anti-competitive practices.
The agency believes Facebook executives saw the potential threat Instagram posed before its acquisition . The ubiquity of smartphones alongside Instagram’s focus on sharing photos meant that the latter could easily take a large chunk from the market.
The regulators noted that Facebook also tried to buy competitors like Twitter and Snapchat.
The lawsuit filed by the FTC intends to have Instagram and Whatsapp become independent companies. It also seeks punitive reparations and regulation preventing the reoccurrence of such behavior in the future.
Facebook is becoming increasingly unpopular with regulators. The company received severe backlash for its launch of [formerly] libra, a crypto-based global payments system in 2019. The company also came under heavy criticism when it sold user data to analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica without consent.