The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) antitrust investigation is looking into Facebook’s acquisitions to determine whether it bought other companies to prevent them from becoming rivals.
The issue of acquisition is paramount to the probe, according to people involved in the matter. Last week, Facebook mentioned the FTC’s investigation in its earnings report, but didn’t go into any details.
It said the FTC was looking “in the areas of social networking or social media services, digital advertising and/or mobile or online applications.”
The FTC is seeking information on whether the company or its leader, Mark Zuckerberg, made purchases of companies simply to ensure they didn’t become challengers down the road. The investigation is at the stage where the FTC is contacting people at the companies Facebook purchased.
Facebook was recently fined $5 billion by the FTC in a separate privacy case.
In the meantime, Facebook continues to release new products and services. On Wednesday (July 31), it was reported that the company reached out to Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney and Amazon about putting their services on a new streaming device the social media company is planning to launch in the fall. The product, code-named “Catalina,” will have a remote and emulate other streaming peripherals like the Apple TV or Roku.
Also, Facebook’s Local News Accelerator program, which funds local news, has led to new digital and email subscribers, plus an estimated $5 million value boost across the 14 participating newspapers.
“We want to make it a place where a cohort learns together, but then we share those learnings, those lessons out to the industry [so that everyone benefits] more broadly,” said Facebook’s Partnerships Lead Josh Mabry.