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Facebook again in the crosshairs of the US antitrust

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The US antitrust authority returns to the charge against Facebook, filing a new dossier accusing the social media giant of abusing its dominant position and illegal monopoly in the sector. The new move by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) follows the decision of a federal judge who rejected the first complaint last June, inflicting a resounding slap in the face of attempts by American authorities to limit the increasingly overwhelming power of Silicon Valley.

The case

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The US antitrust authorities especially targeted the disputed acquisitions by Facebook of Instagram in 2012 and then of WhatsApp in 2014, a concentration deemed excessive and anti-competitive and which should be broken with a separation. In June, Judge James Boasberg found the documentation filed by the Federal Trade Commission insufficient to plausibly establish that Facebook has a monopoly on social networks by controlling 60% of the market. Now, in the 80 pages of the new Ftc complaint, it insists on the anti-competitive practices that the Mark Zuckerberg giant would continue to follow through an illegal scheme called ‘buy or bury’, in practice by attracting application developers to its platform and then ‘burying them. ‘when these apps become a competitive threat. The antitrust also points out that companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok or Youtube cannot be compared to Facebook in terms of social interaction, Facebook which would therefore maintain an unacceptable dominant position on the market.

Now Zuckerberg’s men have until October 4 to reply to the accusations, with the leaders of Menlo Park that for now are limited to calling the action of the Federal Trade Commission “useless”. Several commentators observe how the Facebook case could have the effect of fueling efforts in Congress to impose serious limits on Big Tech. The US House of Congress is in fact facing six different measures that provide for the introduction of stricter controls and rules on the Silicon Valley giants, including a text that provides for what is called the ‘stew’, so as to limit their strength. With the separation of Facebook from WhatsApp or Instagram.

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