Facebook could well be about to face an antitrust lawsuit from the FTC. As reported by Politico, the social media platform is likely to face legal action from the FTC by the end of November for antitrust breaches.
Facebook has had a tough enough few months when it comes to legal issues without having to throw another problem into the fire. Having said that, antitrust issues have surrounded the company for many months now so action will not be unexpected.
Most recently Facebook, Twitter and Google CEOs faced questions from the Senate about antitrust issues. Therefore, these sorts of allegations should be nothing new to Facebook. Additionally, Facebook and Twitter received subpoenas concerning free speech after both took action against a New York Times article.
Those close to the FTC believe that an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook could be imminent. They believe this could be the move in a wider attack on the big tech companies for antitrust issues.
Facebook preparing for antitrust lawsuit
It appears that the FTC wants the handle the case internally. This, in theory, should make the case easier to win by will anger attorneys who want a nationwide push force change in the company.
The suit has been in the works for almost 16 months and alleges that Facebook unfairly stifled competition by acquiring smaller rivals to maintain a stranglehold on users' data.
If successful it could also force Facebook to unwind its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. FTC Chair Joe Simons believes that keeping the suit in-house is the right thing to do. This is because of the confidential nature of the probe.
Simmons will need to convince at least two of his fellow commissioners to agree to the litigation. However, now it looks like Joe Biden will take office a new chair could reverse the plan.
Both sides of the political divide have complained about the power of social media companies. However, most think that a Biden government would be harsher on antitrust issues.
An internal case would cut many states out of proceedings. Given a number of states are also investigating Facebook and wish to file their own suits in Federal court this could cause problems. For a while now these states have tried to persuade the FTC to join them in a national effort.
Both the FTC and Facebook have declined to comment on this story which is perhaps unsurprising given its nature. After a tumultuous election period for Facebook it looks like their troubles are by no means over with another lawsuit looming.