The direction of the antitrust lawsuits that are beginning against the social media group Facebook are becoming clearer. The US authorities want nothing less than a break-up of the company, which has almost a monopoly in its field.
In the meantime, public prosecutors in various states have started filing their lawsuits against the company – there are now 48. And the FTC trade authority is also present with its own complaint. Everything here revolves around the fact that Facebook has invested enormous amounts of money in order to prevent serious competition with clever takeovers.
The investigations into the matter have also already taken on very concrete forms. For example, the US news agency Bloomberg reports that the Justice Department has even summoned individual developers from VR specialist Oculus to get a more detailed picture of how Facebook is influencing this market in its favor.
In a first internal statement, which is available to the US magazine CNet, company founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the allegations could not be understood. “The reality is that we are in competition with many other services and we have fair competition,” he said.
Everything is already approved
Facebook’s chief legal advisor, Jennifer Newstead, also emphasized that the FTC had given its approval to every single takeover. Users and advertisers would choose Facebook because of the benefits it brings – and not because they are forced to, she continued. “Anti-trust laws exist to protect consumers and encourage innovation, not to punish successful businesses,” she said.
But it is also clear that Facebook is repeatedly testing the limits and trying to shift what is allowed in the takeover permits. This can be seen, among other things, in the regular attempts to access the user databases of the social network and the messenger WhatsApp – which has clearly been prohibited. Dealing with the matter is not that easy, however, since the formation of a monopoly in social media is structurally created – after all, users do not go where there are particularly innovative functions, but where they find as many other people from their environment as possible.
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