The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and in alliance with 46 states, has taken legal action against Facebook to end its monopoly over social media network. Last December 09, the FTC filed an Antitrust Lawsuit as a way to stop Facebook Inc from continuing its unfair business practice of buying out emerging competitors posing as threats to its domination of the country’s social media industry.
Additionally, the legal action cites Facebook’s unfair practice of disallowing app developers to introduce digital technology that will improve on FB’s technology, as doing so can affect the social media platform’s ability to compete with their networking services. According to the FTC, the company’s anti competitive actions and behavior for the past years are unfair trade and commerce practices. The lawsuit aims force FB to sell its subsidiary businesses, specifically Instagram and Whatsapp, as a way to dismantle the social media company’s monopoly.
The Antitrust Lawsuit is the Culmination of a Long Investigation between FTC and Legal Professionals
Prior to the filing of the Antitrust lawsuit, the FTC, along with an alliance of lawyers coming from 46 states, including the Districts of Guam and Columbia have been conducting investigations on how Facebook perpetuated a systematic strategy to eliminate competitors.
This strategy includes the acquisition of Instagram in 2012, and of Whatsapp in 2014. This kind of behavior not only weakens trade competition but also lessens the choices of consumers and advertisers when choosing a social media for both personal and business purposes. Moreover, the resulting monopoly also gives Facebook total control over the private information of millions of social media users.
According to the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Ian Conner, personal social networking is of great significance to Americans. Yet FB’s unfair practice of buying out competitors had diminished the benefits of having another choice of platform that could provide better and/or more secure services. Conner added that their goal is to put a stop to Facebook’s anticompetitive practices and reinstate competition in social networking.
The FTC is also seeking to prevent Facebook from imposing anti competitive conditions on software developers in the use of the FB platform, in selling assets that will compete with the FB platform and that of its Instagram and Whasapp subsidiaries.
FTC’s lawsuit aims to obtain permanent injunction and equitable remedy in restricting Facebook from carrying out and applying anticompetitive courses of actions that seek to eliminate fostering of fair competition in the U.S. While the FTC lawsuit does not aim to bar Facebook from making other acquisitions, FTC hopes to obtain a court ruling that will require Facebook to give prior notices and obtain government approval for its future purchases.
However, the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri contends that when Facebook made moves to acquire Whatsapp and Instagram, the FTC cleared the said acquisitions.
Availability of Options for Social Media Networking will Work Favorably for Influencers and Brand Promoters
The availability of options is also important for social media users, especially for influencers and brand promoters, as there will be a broader space in which to carry out their networking activities. Still, promoting one’s business and products by way of social media sites can only do so much.
Regardless of whether the FTC succeeds in forcing FB to sell Instagram to another entity, influencers and brand promoters must also rely on their creative ability to post content that will yield the desired results. Aside from getting views, eliciting likes and growing the number of followers to one’s social media account, brand influencers and promoters should also use analytic tools that can provide statistical and data about their content.
Share my Insight (https://sharemyinsights.com/) for one, provides an online analytic tool specifically for use of Instagram users to help identify which of their content are receiving interactions from their audience. That way, they will create Instagram content that have better chances of reaching the right target audience.