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FTC Claims Meta Withheld Key Details in Instagram, WhatsApp Deals

 |  June 5, 2024

Meta Platforms is under intense scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations of withholding critical information during the reviews of its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. This development emerges amid a renewed push by the FTC to dismantle the social media giant, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

The FTC’s latest legal maneuver aims to challenge the legitimacy of Meta’s past acquisitions, which have been pivotal to its dominance in the social networking space. Meta, formerly known as Facebook and led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, acquired Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The acquisitions were initially reviewed by the FTC, with Instagram undergoing a thorough examination and WhatsApp receiving a brief 30-day review.

Criticism has mounted over the FTC’s original approval of these transactions, culminating in a 2020 lawsuit accusing Meta of monopolizing the social networking market by purchasing its potential rivals. The FTC now contends that Meta did not fully disclose all relevant information during the initial reviews, a claim that has intensified the ongoing legal battle.

“The FTC now has available vastly more evidence, including pre-acquisition documents Meta did not provide in 2012 and 2014,” the filing states, highlighting the agency’s position that the information withheld by Meta could have influenced the outcomes of the acquisition reviews.

The FTC argues that Meta’s request for a limited review at the time was insufficient to uncover the full implications of the deals. This assertion forms a core part of the FTC’s strategy to reverse the approvals and potentially break up the tech conglomerate.

In response, Meta is seeking to have the case dismissed before it proceeds to trial.

“Meta faces fierce competition, and our substantial investment of time and resources in Instagram and WhatsApp has benefited consumers by making the apps into the services millions of users enjoy today for free,” said Meta spokesperson Chris Sgro.

Source: Bloomberg