Saturday, June 19, 2021

The US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsApp

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Facebook has used illegal monopoly power and an “unlawful scheme” to stifle competition, degrade personal privacy, and crush rivals, according to antitrust lawsuits filed Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 46 states and two territories.

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference announcing the action. “By using its vast troves of data and money, Facebook has squashed or hindered what the company perceived as potential threats.”

James said the company’s “unlawful scheme” has reduced choices for consumers and “degraded privacy protections for millions of Americans.”

The long-anticipated suits allege that the social networking behemoth has abused its market dominance in order to acquire or kill competitors, abuse the privacy of Americans, and punish rivals who refused to be bought out. The suits cite Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram and its 2014 purchase of WhatsApp as key examples of its alleged anticompetitive behavior.

The suits ask the courts to permanently stop Facebook from continuing its allegedly illegal behavior, to curtail major new acquisitions by the social network, and to potentially force it to divest its major assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The state attorneys general asked the courts to require Facebook to seek their approval for acquisitions valued at or above $10 million.

“Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition,” said Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in a statement. “Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

In a statement, Jennifer Newstead, Facebook’s vice president and general counsel, called the lawsuits’ allegations “revisionist history.”

“Instagram and WhatsApp became the incredible products they are today because Facebook invested billions of dollars, and years of innovation and expertise, to develop new features and better experiences for the millions who enjoy those products,” she said. “The most important fact in this case, which the Commission does not mention in its 53-page complaint, is that it cleared these acquisitions years ago. The government now wants a do-over, sending a chilling warning to American business that no sale is ever final.”

Facebook previously defended its actions and acquisitions after the House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report in October that said it and other tech giants have abused their monopoly power.

During public hearings, the subcommittee released emails from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in which he told a company executive that acquiring Instagram would neutralize a competitor.

“These businesses are nascent but the networks are established, the brands are already meaningful, and if they grow to a large scale they could be very disruptive to us,” Zuckerberg wrote to David Ebersman, then the company’s CFO, in early 2012.

Forty-five minutes after sending his email, Zuckerberg attempted to walk back his comments. “I didn’t mean to imply that we’d be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way,” he wrote in a follow-up message.

On Wednesday, news of the antitrust lawsuits filtered to employees via articles posted by their colleagues to the company’s internal message board. It took several hours after the news broke for Newstead and Zuckerberg to make internal announcements, with Facebook’s CEO saying he was “limited in discussing specifics of these cases.”

“Overall, we disagree with the government’s allegations and we plan to fight this in court,” Zuckerberg wrote. He noted that Facebook’s competitors including Google, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and others have apps with “hundreds of millions or billions of users.”

“Our acquisitions have been good for competition, good for advertisers, and good for people,” Newstead wrote in her post to employees.

Inside Facebook, discussion was muted as only a handful of employees commented on posts about the news. Later, company leaders disabled comments on posts discussing the antitrust laswuits, including those from Zuckerberg and Newstead, as part of an October directive from Facebook’s chief.

“Given that, you know, anything that any of you say internally is, of course, available to be subpoenaed or used in any of these investigations, I just think we should make sure that people aren’t just, you know, mouthing off about this and saying things that may reflect inaccurate data, or generally just are kind of incomplete,” he said in a company-wide meeting in October that was previously reported by BuzzFeed News. “You shouldn’t be emailing about these things and you shouldn’t really be discussing this in non-privileged forums across the company.”

Read more from a Random Article pick

TRENDING NOW

Why Marvel Fans Should Notice WandaVision’s Butterflies

Meet Layla Miller, a.k.a. Butterfly, a mutant whose initial glut of superhuman powers rival the specificity of a can of Bat Shark Repellant.

18 Hilarious Times Siblings Show Their ‘Love’ For Each Other

Most people understand the concept of growing up with siblings because they have at least one.

What Ryan Reynolds Just Said About Deadpool 3

Reynolds' tweet reads in full: "It's critical to have open, honest and healthy discussions around mental health. By retweeting #BellLetsTalk you can make a difference.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The terrifying new survival horror series on Netflix

While on the surface Sweet Home may seem like a typical bloody horror romp with a unique urban setting, the cast and crew feel the series has a deeper meaning.

The Mom episodes that fans skip when rewatching

Christy Plunkett — the recovering alcoholic and daughter of Bonnie played by Anna Faris on the show's first seven seasons — is a single mother who has occasional romantic interests.

4 founders explain the biggest hurdles to flattening the climate curve in 2021

While a lot of our career, personal, and travel plans have been put on hold this year, there’s one thing we as a society cannot afford to put on hold: the fight against climate change. 

Stay Connected

40,345FansLike
2,394FollowersFollow
870FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

Lady Gaga Offers $500,000 Reward For Safe Return Of Dogs After Dogwalker Shot

Ryan Fischer, Gaga’s dogwalker, was in front of his house with her three French bulldogs on Sierra Bonita Avenue in Los Angeles when he was attacked by thieves.

The Real Reason The Russos Wanted To Cast Tom Holland In Cherry

"What's clear to us is that there's a lot of compassion and empathy around him as an actor.

Things Only Adults Notice In Sister Act

After Deloris gets captured, her sisters at Saint Katherine's take it upon themselves to come to the rescue rather than count on the police to get there in time.

How Old Was Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson When He Filmed The Mummy Returns?

The Mummy Returns came out on May 4, 2001, when Johnson was two days over 29 — but we're looking for his age when the movie was shot, not when it was released.

NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Release Date, Cast And Plot

The show's main characters could be in a very different place when season 12 is over.
- Advertisement -
Storepaperoomates Blog

Pin It on Pinterest