The US Federal Trade Commission has re-filed its complaint against Facebook.
The Commission argued that the company should be broken up and forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.
They believe that Facebook has formed a monopoly over social networking in the US, which has made it difficult for other companies to compete.
The FTC’s revised complaint comes amid mounting criticism over the size and power of the social media giant’s empire and how it has bought out competitors.
The case makes reference to an email from Mark Zuckerberg, sent in 2008, in which he said: “it is better to buy than compete”. The FTC’s lawyers argue that Facebook has acted per that strategy, tracking its rivals and buying them when they become big enough to be threats.
They cite the purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp as examples of this.
The case accuses Facebook of operating a monopoly for “personal social networking services” in the US because it controls both Facebook and Instagram. It notes that the closest competitor is Snapchat, but that has far fewer users than either of the two Facebook social networking apps.
The lawsuit also accuses Facebook of continuing to operate in such a way and that it uses the companies it has bought to create a “protective ‘moat’ around its personal social networking monopoly”.
The FTC believes that it will continue to buy or “kneecap” companies if it is not stopped.
The complaint asks that Facebook sell its businesses, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and others. This is to ensure that other companies can fairly compete.
It also asks that Facebook be restricted from making similar purchases in the future. This would include the implementation of rules that would force the company to seek approval if it wants to make similar deals.