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US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsApp

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 10 Dec 2020 08:42
US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsAppPA Images

Facebook has found itself in hot water once again, as the US Government has stated it must sell Instagram and WhatsApp after reportedly using an ‘unlawful scheme’ to beat its rivals.

The social media giant acquired Instagram back in 2012, followed by messaging app WhatsApp two years later.

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The lawsuit was filed against Facebook yesterday, December 9, by the Federal Trade Commission and attorney generals from 46 states and two territories, which accused it of abusing the privacy of Americans, among several other things.

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As per Buzzfeed, New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference:

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. By using its vast troves of data and money, Facebook has squashed or hindered what the company perceived as potential threats.

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She added that Facebook’s supposed ‘unlawful scheme’ had reduced options for consumers and had ‘degraded privacy protections for millions of Americans’. The lawsuit uses its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp as an example of its alleged anticompetitive behaviour.

In the hopes of stopping Facebook’s alleged criminal behaviour, the suit asks the court to force the social media giant to give up its major assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and for it to seek the courts approval for any further acquisitions valued at $10 million or more, reported Buzzfeed.

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Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement, ‘Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition.’

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He went on to say that the aim is to ‘roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct’ in a bid to restore competition.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Newstead, Facebook’s vice president and general counsel, has claimed that the US government ‘now wants a do-over’.

She said:

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.

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PA Images

She continued, ‘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.’

Newstead added that they ‘look forward to [their] day in court’ and that they are ‘confident the evidence will show that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp belong together, competing on the merits with great products’.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Facebook, Instagram, Lawsuit, Mark Zuckerberg, Now, Social Media, US News, whatsapp

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    The US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsApp