Facebook to face antitrust changes over the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram
Facebook is going to face antitrust changes from the several U.S states and federal government over the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, reports Washington Post.
For those who don’t know, Facebook spent $1 billion back in 2012 to acquire Instagram and a whopping $19 billion two years later to acquire WhatsApp.
Washington notes that Facebook originally promised to preserve the platform’s independence and strong privacy protections, which put the regulators at ease at that time. However, the company later changed its course and decided to integrate user data of the two platforms with Facebook.
According to people familiar with the matter, the probes over the acquisitions are already in the final phase, and now investigators are looking at how WhatsApp and Instagram have changed over the years post the huge acquisitions.
The anti-trust watchdogs are also considering bringing in lawsuits over the fact that the deals have left the social networking space with no competition. Moreover, WhatsApp and Instagram now offer lesser privacy protection than they might have if they remained independent.
Washington reports that investigators are also probing how Facebook manages users’ data, specifically looking at the policies surrounding it and how much of it can be accessed by developers and other companies.
Based on their dealings and policies, investigators will lodge complaints arguing that Facebook weaponized its most valuable assets in a way that forced rivals out of the competition, the sources said.
The probe is still underway and no lawsuits, either from the state or federal, have been finalized. However, sources said that over 40 states are on-board with the idea of having an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.