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Home News The FTC is 'preparing possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook' following probe

The FTC is ‘preparing possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook’ following probe

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook after a year of investigating whether the social media giant is stifling competition through acquisitions, according to a source.  

The consumer trust watchdog is gearing up to file a suit against the social media giant before the end of 2020, an unidentified person familiar with the matter said, reported the Wall Street Journal

The FTC, headed by Republican chairman Joseph Simons, has spent more than a year carrying out a probe into Facebook’s practices and whether the company has broken antitrust laws and used its dominant position in the tech sector to stamp out competition.

News of a possible suit comes after founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month testified under oath for two days as part of the FTC investigation.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook after a year of investigating whether the social media giant is stifling competition through acquisitions, according to a source. Pictured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook after a year of investigating whether the social media giant is stifling competition through acquisitions, according to a source. Pictured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg 

The source said a final decision had not been reached on whether the FTC was planning to sue Facebook and acknowledged that it does not always bring suits even after preparations are made to do so, reported the Journal. 

In 2013, the FTC backtracked on filing an antitrust complaint against Google despite having already made preparations.  

The FTC, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, would need a majority vote in order to bring a suit against the company.   

In August, Facebook confirmed Zuckerberg had been interviewed at an FTC investigative hearing as part of the government’s antitrust probe.

‘We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry and answering the questions the agency may have,’ the social media company said in a statement. 

Zuckerberg is said to have testified under oath for two days in testimony that could be used to build a case against the social media giant. 

This came one month after Zuckerberg was hauled before Congress to testify about antitrust allegations as part of mounting scrutiny on the actions of the Silicon Valley tech giants.

Zuckerberg faced a congressional antitrust hearing along with the heads of Google, Apple and Amazon in July. 

The FTC, headed by Republican chairman Joseph Simons (pictured), has spent more than a year carrying out a probe into Facebook's practices and whether the company has broken antitrust laws and used its dominant position in the tech sector to stamp out competition

The FTC, headed by Republican chairman Joseph Simons (pictured), has spent more than a year carrying out a probe into Facebook’s practices and whether the company has broken antitrust laws and used its dominant position in the tech sector to stamp out competition 

The FTC told Facebook back in June 2019 it was probing whether the company had engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices.

Part of the probe has centered around Facebook’s prior acquisitions of potential rival firms such as social networking or social media services, digital advertising, and mobile applications.

The company has maintained that its acquisitions are not anticompetitive.

Facebook faces similar probes by the Justice Department and by state attorney generals.  

The social media firm has recently faced criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices and last year agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle an FTC data privacy probe.   

News of a possible suit comes after Zuckerberg last month testified under oath for two days as part of the FTC investigation

News of a possible suit comes after Zuckerberg last month testified under oath for two days as part of the FTC investigation

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