The Federal Trade Commission went after Facebook a second time on Thursday, accusing the company of creating an illegal monopoly in a new complaint. The complaint says Facebook bought up potential competitors or otherwise interfered in their access to the platform.
“Facebook has systematically tracked potential rivals and acquired companies that it viewed as serious competitive threats,” said the complaint reviewed by TheWrap. “Facebook supplemented this anticompetitive acquisition strategy with anticompetitive conditional dealing policies, designed to erect or maintain entry barriers and to neutralize perceived competitive threats.”
A representative for Facebook directed TheWrap to a tweet from Facebook Newsroom’s account that read, “We are reviewing the FTC’s amended complaint and will have more to say soon.”
This complaint comes after Judge James Boasberg dismissed the FTC’s first attempt to break up Facebook earlier this year. The FTC, alongside 48 state attorneys general, sued Facebook in December, claiming it not only has a social network monopoly, but that it has maintained that position primarily through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, and two years later, paid $19 billion for WhatsApp. (Both deals were approved by the FTC.)
The FTC is now arguing that Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram were illegal and that the company “lured” in app developers only to bury them when they became competitive threats.