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US: Facebook co-founder aids FTC in antitrust investigation

 |  July 28, 2019

Facebook co-founder and outspoken critic Chris Hughes is working with regulators as they investigate whether the company should be broken up for violating antitrust rules. The Washington Post reported that Hughes is assisting two prominent antitrust academics, and has met with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discuss its investigation into the social media company he helped found back in 2004.

Hughes involvement is significant even though he left the company more than a decade ago. He’s already made the argument for why Facebook should be broken up, reported The Verge . Now he can provide investigators with a list of people to talk with in order to gain critical insight into the motivations behind key Facebook acquisitions. This insight could be essential to successfully making the antitrust argument to the FTC, alongside arguments from  Scott Hemphill from New York University and Tim Wu of Columbia University.

According to The Washington Post, the two academics are attempting to make an argument for breaking up Facebook based on its acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram. They argue that these acquisitions broke antitrust rules, because Facebook used them to stamp out competition and shore up its monopolistic position. If they can prove the acquisitions broke antitrust rules, then they can make a case for undoing the empire, similar to the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. “There is a direct connection between the conduct and the remedy — undo the acquisition,” Hemphill said.

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