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Facebook Breakup Would Demolish Zuckerberg’s Social Media Empire

  • U.S. antitrust lawsuit seeks divestment of Instagram, WhatsApp
  • Facebook’s bets on the future are at risk if deals are unwound
Bloomberg business news
Facebook Hit With Antitrust Lawsuits

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission took a major step toward the possible breakup of Facebook Inc. by formally filing an antitrust lawsuit against the technology giant, accusing it of abusing its monopoly powers in social networking to stifle competition.

The FTC and a coalition of states also suing the company zeroed in on Facebook’s acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram for $715 million in 2012, and the $22 billion deal for messaging service WhatsApp two years later. The deals, which sailed past regulators when they were proposed, were meant to “squelch” competitive threats, the commission wrote in its complaint Wednesday. Now, the FTC wants Facebook to divest the two businesses -- an idea that poses an existential threat to the empire built by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.