The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued Facebook, accusing it of illegally maintaining a personal monopoly on social media. That’s according to the commission’s website on Dec. 9.
The commission notes that Facebook has employed a systematic strategy to address threats to its monopoly. That strategy includes acquiring up-and-coming competitor Instagram in 2012, buying the messenger WhatsApp in 2014, and imposing anti-competitive conditions on software developers.
“This pattern of behavior harms competition, leaves consumers with little choice in personal social media and deprives advertisers of the benefits of competition,” the agency said in a statement.
Therefore, the Commerce Commission wants to enforce through the courts:
The sale of a number of Facebook’s assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp;
Prohibiting Facebook from imposing anti-competitive terms on software developers;
An obligation for Facebook to seek prior notice and approval for future mergers and acquisitions.
The complaint against Facebook was the second major lawsuit filed in a year against a major tech company over allegations of monopoly. In October, the U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet, the owner of Google. It is accused of violating competition: the company entered into agreements with smartphone manufacturers, through which Google became the default search engine.
The charges are part of a larger antitrust investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission against four tech giants, Amazon, Apple Inc.