Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Facebook Inc. can face an antitrust lawsuit for violations of antitrust laws through monopolistic behavior, for which it has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for over a year, reports Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg’s undisclosed source, the commission met Thursday to discuss Facebook Inc’s case and the officials are close to making a decision, possibly preparing for a lawsuit. The authority, which is carrying out this investigation, is the Federal Trade Commission. FTC is headed by five commissioners and the final decision on filing the lawsuit rests on them.

The US has antitrust laws in place to regulate business corporations and to promote fair competition. Facebook has been accused of acquiring rivals to eliminate competition before they can become a threat, referring to the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram by the company.

FTC and a nationwide group of state attorneys general led by New York have been investigating the company for over a year. During this investigation, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by the FTC officials in August.

The acquisition of both WhatsApp and Instagram was approved by the FTC, but it has the authority to revisit the deals and take it to the court to undo them if they are found to be violating any rules- in this case, the antitrust rules.

According to a House report, Facebook wields the power to monopolize the market to get rid of competition and Facebook has used that power to stop competition and expand its dominance.

The report said, “Once dominant, Facebook selectively enforced its platform policies based on whether it perceived other companies as competitive threats. In doing so, it advantaged its own services while weakening other firms.”

But Mark Zuckerberg has constantly denied these accusations, and at a hearing in July, said that there was no real guarantee that Instagram would become the global, prolific platform that it has. However, company emails shown during the meeting show otherwise.

Facebook Inc. has slowly acquired a bad reputation, as it has also come under fire for involvement in the last US election and for its poor treatment of content moderators, which it employs through third-party contractors. However, Facebook isn’t the only company which has recently faced accusations of violations of antitrust laws. The US Justice Department has already filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, which Google has called ‘deeply flawed.’