WE WOULDN'T WANT TO BE FACEBOOK'S COMMS TEAM at the moment, as a mere day or so after explaining it's reached an expensive settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, it's announced it's under another FTC probe.
Having put the debacle that stemmed from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to bed, albeit with a $5bn penalty charge and a whole revision of its privacy process, Facebook is now facing another antitrust probe.
Confirmation of the investigation came as part of its second-quarter financial results release, which showed Zuck's company made a healthy $2.6bn in profit, even after it recorded $2bn in expenses relating to the FTC settlement. So Facebook still makes enormous profits despite being down some 48 per cent on the same quarter in 2018.
This is clearly a bee in the bonnet of the FTC, and its investigation will explore whether Facebook holds a monopoly and is anticompetitive.
Facebook's reveal of the probe and its reaction to it seemed rather ambivalent as if one was discussing the need for more ink for a printer, or some other definitively dull task.
"The online technology industry and our company have received increased regulatory scrutiny in the past quarter. In June 2019, we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company," explained Facebook's earnings release.
"In addition, in July 2019, the Department of Justice announced that it will begin an antitrust review of market-leading online platforms."
A bit like the antitrust probes the European Union likes to launch at tech companies, it seems like the FTC has also got a trouser tent when it comes to sniffing around big tech firms, with it having been granted the authority to look after an antitrust probe into Amazon.
What the result of a probe into Facebook will throw up is difficult to say. As a social network with over a billion users, it's larger than a lot of nations, so it's no surprise it's the top-dog.
But given it owns Instagram and WhatsApp, along with numerous other things like Oculus, there's a solid argument that Facebook has too many powerful brands under its control.
That would further fuel the idea that Facebook should be broken up, though we doubt Mark Zuckerberg will take that lightly. µ
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