FTC Opens Antitrust Investigation of Facebook

July 25, 2019

Facebook has disclosed that the Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust investigation into the company. In a recent statement for a Senate Judiciary committee hearing on antitrust, EPIC wrote that "companies that protect user privacy are being absorbed by companies that do not protect privacy." EPIC pointed to the Facebook-WhatsApp deal and the failure of the FTC to protect the personal data of WhatsApp users after the merger. EPIC previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mergers in the online advertising industry after EPIC told the FTC that Google's acquisition of DoubleClick would diminish privacy and stifle innovation. EPIC earlier opposed Doubleclick's acquisition of Abacus, explaining that the deal would lead to increased profiling of American consumers. This year, EPIC, Color of Change, the Open Markets Institute, and others urged the FTC to spin off WhatsApp as a remedy for violations of the 2011 consent order. In a settlement announced this week, the Commission failed to do so.

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