Huge: FTC official, EU outline Facebook breakup
Also: Google investigation gets deeper and the FTC itself may get an overhaul
U.S. lawmakers are catching up fast to the EU — now officials on both sides of the Atlantic are outlining specific breakup plans for Facebook, and increasingly, Google.
For Facebook, the weekend brought explicit details of what a remedy could look like:
On Saturday, the new head of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition said just breaking Instagram and WhatsApp away from Facebook may not be enough of a remedy:
“Simply unwinding the deal may not be enough to restore the competition that would have existed but for the challenged transaction,” Conner said at a conference Saturday in Miami, according to his prepared remarks. “Particularly when dealing with data, it may be possible to both retain and divest an asset: databases, for example, can be copied, with one copy divested and one retained.”
The comments came as the EU deepened its antitrust inquiry into the company’s data practices. The European Commission says it has testimony from Facebook’s rivals as well as politicians that the behemoth leveraged access to its users’ data to stifle competition.
And as Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff slammed the company for leaving a faked video up on its platform
The news this weekend was equally grim for Google:
The EU heard new allegations that the company abuses its market power from thirty four (34) rivals who offer vacation rental listings
A bipartisan coalition of U.S. state Attorneys General said it’s adding staff and other resources because it’s expanding its antitrust probe of the company. The Texas Attorney General explicitly said that “break-up, and all other remedies are on the table” in the probe as he accused the company of delaying the investigation.
And in a provocative twist, longtime Big Tech critic and U.S. Senator Josh Hawley thinks the FTC itself needs to be toughened up — an extraordinary statement from a Republican:
“The FTC isn’t working,” Hawley said in a statement.“It wastes time in turf wars with the DOJ, nobody is accountable for decisions, and it lacks the ‘teeth’ to get after Big Tech’s rampant abuses. Congress needs to do something about it.”
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