FTC wants Instagram and WhatsApp separated from Facebook

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The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Facebook seeking to separate Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook. Joining the FTC as applicants are 48 states and regional attorneys who seek to have Instagram and WhatsApp removed from direct control of Facebook.

The complaint, according to Android Police, allege that Facebook has demonstrated a pattern of squashing competition by acquiring smaller companies before they can become big enough to pose any real threat to Facebook’s market dominance.

The FTC also filed a separate lawsuit asking the court to “undo” Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp as well as that of Instagram which occurred earlier in 2012. What the FTC is praying the court to do in essence is to spin both companies [WhatsApp and Instagram] into independent companies.  

Responding to the lawsuit, Facebook per Android Police calls the lawsuits filed by the FTC as “revisionist history.” The social media giant points out that the FTC and other relevant overseas approved of the acquisition deals when they occurred. Revisiting the deals, according to Facebook, would amount to announcing that no sale can ever be final, despite the resulting harm it would cause the consumers.

Facebook sealed the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 after securing the approval of the European Commission. The deal saw Facebook pay $12 billion of its stock value, and another $4 billion, with founders of the app also granted $3 billion Facebook stock. It was also agreed as part of the deal to allow the app continue as a separate service from the social network giant.

The deal which was initially kicked against by some EU telecoms companies, eventually got approval from the EU Commission, declaring that both companies were not ‘close competitors.’ The Commission also gave its approval based on the fact that consumers will still be left with a choice of applications to choose from.

The social media company said it was keeping WhatsApp as a separate service, just as it did with Instagram. “The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp’s shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably,’ Facebook said back then.

The combination of WhatsApp and Facebook will allow us to connect many more people round the world,” Zuckerberg said. “We want to develop more mobile experiences like Instagram and Messenger. WhatsApp fits this vision perfectly; it has incredibly strong engagement and growth. It’s the only app we’ve ever seen that has grown more quickly than Facebook itself.”

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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