Facebook was hit with two big antitrust lawsuits this week, both of which revolved around the tech giant’s acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Let’s see in-depth what these lawsuits say about Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Crux of the Matter
What Is The Antitrust Law?
In the US, it is a collection of federal and state government laws that regulate the conduct of business corporations and promote competition for the benefit of consumers. Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 are its main statutes.
Who Filed The Lawsuits This Time?
Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general filed against Facebook for its acquisitions of photo and video sharing app, Instagram and messaging app, WhatsApp.
But Didn’t FB Obtain Approval?
Facebook had obtained regulatory approval when it bought Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, but lawmakers have recently scrutinized the acquisitions.
What Do They Say?
The suits allege that Facebook used a strategy of neutralizing competitors by buying rather than competing with say, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Even emails from 2012 had revealed Zuckerberg’s thinking about acquiring Instagram at the time because he deemed it as a “threat” to Facebook.
So What Do These Complaints Seek?
- A divestiture of assets – breaking off Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook.
- Facebook should be required to get approval from governments before any mergers or acquisitions in the future.
Read More: Top Brands Pull Out Of Facebook Ads
- The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a charity established and owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan with an investment of 99% of the couple’s wealth from their Facebook shares over their lifetime. Indian education startup Byju’s announced raising $50 million in a round co-led by The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital.
- Mark Zuckerberg is color-blind to red and green and therefore, blue is the richest color for him. Therefore, Facebook’s theme is blue in colour. In an interview, he stated, “blue is the richest color for me — I can see all of blue.”
- Al Pacino, the American actor, was the first face of Facebook. The site displayed a header image featuring a man’s face obscured behind the binary code. The identity of the man could not be seen clearly, but it later came to light that the face was that of acclaimed actor Al Pacino.