The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly started investigating Facebook’s acquisitions, including Instagram and WhatsApp, as part of a business plan designed to take out its competition.
A Wall Street Journal report suggested that the FTC will reportedly investigate Facebook’s acquisition practices as part of an antitrust investigation over whether the social media giants purchases its competitors to keep its dominant status on the Internet.
Critics of Facebook suggested that Facebook acquired WhatsApp and Instagram to stifle competition. One report suggested that Facebook has used proprietary data from a virtual private network (VPN) known as Onavo, which it acquired in 2013, to identify small tech competitors gaining market share and buy them before they could effectively compete with Facebook.
Facebook’s potential anticompetitive behavior has increasingly come under scrutiny. During his testimony to Congress in 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg states that Facebook competes with at least eight apps; although, Facebooks owns or has a version of each of the apps that supposedly threatens them.
Breitbart News’ Lucas Nolan reported:
Zuckerberg’s own products are ranked extremely high on the list. Instagram — which is owned by Facebook — is number four, Facebook Messenger is number 6 and the Facebook app itself is number eight. The top three apps are games, but for all other apps, Facebook has or is working on a cloned version of that app. The YouTube app sits at number five, and Facebook is currently attempting to build it’s “Watch Video” section to take on YouTube. The Silicon Valley giant has already adopted the “Stories” idea from the seventh most popular app, Snapchat. Facebook also owns the 19th most popular app, WhatsApp.
The report arises as the FTC fined Facebook for $5 billion for its privacy violations; however, many advocacy groups and politicians believe that the deal serves as a “bargain” for the company that reached $55 billion in revenue.