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Facebook Must Be Broken Up: Federal Trade Commission Files Antitrust Lawsuit
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and an alliance of attorneys general from 48 states and territories filed a pair of stinging antitrust lawsuits on Wednesday against Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), asking that the company be broken up.
The government's case revolves around Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The lawsuit claims the tech giant bought rivals to eliminate competition. The filing also cites Facebook's attempts to acquire other popular platforms, including Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat. The FTC is asking for a permanent injunction that could force the social media platform to divest Instagram and WhatsApp.
"Since toppling early rival Myspace and achieving monopoly power, Facebook has turned to playing defense through anticompetitive means," the FTC wrote in its lawsuit. "After identifying two significant competitive threats to its dominant position -- Instagram and WhatsApp -- Facebook moved to squelch those threats by buying the companies." The complaint went on to cite a 2008 email in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg allegedly said, "It is better to buy than compete."