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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The United States Federal Trade Commission today reinforced its antitrust case against Facebook by providing more detail on how the company either crushed or bought out its rivals in an attempt to get rid of competition.


The updated filing is longer than the original complaint and it offers additional evidence in favor of the FTC's argument that Facebook is a monopolist, plus it again asks the judge overseeing the case to force Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, the two social networking apps that Facebook also operates.

In the complaint, the FTC says that Facebook used an illegal "buy-or-bury" scheme to maintain its dominance in the social networking market after it failed to "develop innovative mobile features" during the transition from desktop to mobile devices. Facebook is also accused of luring developers to its platform, surveilling them for signs of success, and then burying them when they became a threat.

With no "serious competition," the FTC says that Facebook has been able to "hone a surveillance-based advertising model" that causes increasing harm to consumers.
"Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile. After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat," said Holly Vedova, FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director. "This conduct is no less anticompetitive than if Facebook had bribed emerging app competitors not to compete. The antitrust laws were enacted to prevent precisely this type of illegal activity by monopolists. Facebook's actions have suppressed innovation and product quality improvements. And they have degraded the social network experience, subjecting users to lower levels of privacy and data protections and more intrusive ads. The FTC's action today seeks to put an end to this illegal activity and restore competition for the benefit of Americans and honest businesses alike."
According to the FTC, Facebook was unable to integrate its desktop-based technology to mobile devices, and when it was unable to fairly compete, Facebook executives addressed the threat by buying up new innovators in the space like Instagram and WhatsApp, who had "succeeded where Facebook failed."

Facebook's policies of hindering third-party developers on its Facebook Platform impacted companies like Circle and Path, and also "deprived consumers of promising and disrupting mavericks" that would have been able to force Facebook to make improvements to its own social network.

The FTC says that its amended complaint provides direct evidence that Facebook has the power to control prices, drive competitors out of business, and reduce the quality of the product delivered to consumers without losing a significant number of users.

The FTC originally filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook in December 2020, teaming up with 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Guam to accuse Facebook of maintaining an illegal social networking monopoly.

Article Link: FTC Accuses Facebook of Using 'Buy-or-Bury' Techniques to Stifle Competition and 'Hone a Surveillance-Based Advertising Model'


macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2020
Facebook is absolutely a monopoly. It is scary that 1 company owns 4 of the top 5 social media/chat platforms: Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. If any company needs to have antitrust brought down on them it is Facebook.



macrumors 601
Dec 8, 2008
So how much money will it take for the FTC to go away? FB will pay the fine and promise to change its ways. Cost of doing business...


macrumors 601
Dec 8, 2008
Facebook is absolutely a monopoly. It is scary that 1 company owns 4 of the top 5 social media/chat platforms: Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. If any company needs to have antitrust brought down on them it is Facebook.
Our economy is full of monopolies. If you think anything is going to change, I have a bridge to sell you. You can tell by what happened to $FB on this news. It yawned.


Sep 25, 2018
As much as I hate Facebook, I'm not sure I want the FTC to win, this could set a precedence to go after all the high tech companies incl Apple ... and yes, I realize FB incl its companies have a much greater share than eg Apple, still ...


macrumors member
Jul 25, 2016
Fairly certain these purchases were approved by the government. It goes on in every business known to man. Move on, what a sad state of affairs.


macrumors 68020
May 8, 2008
Not exactly. Imagine if FB had tocompete against IG. Better for the consumer
The problem is that most of these companies are created with the intent of growing to a certain size and being acquired. Why do you think they were on the market in the first place. Most like Facebook for years had no concept of monetization and their exit strategy was to get bought for a few billion.
If that would not have been an option many of the companies Facebook and others buy out would have gone out of business or never found funding or maybe never started. Most of these tech startup have no interest in running a company long term.


macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2020
Northern California, USA
Not exactly. Imagine if FB had to compete against IG. Better for the consumer
If IG wanted to sell, that's their business. I want to instead see an investigation into whether FB uses the threat of copying as a way to force acquisitions. They tried to buy Snapchat, and right after refusal, they copied the entire app within IG. That probably wasn't a coincidence.
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