According to the reports we recently got from our sources, it appears that the co-founder and forthright critic of Facebook, Chris Hughes is teaming up with regulators in the investigation of the company especially to decide if the company should be split up for having violated antitrust rules. Our sources informed us that he happens to be aiding two revered antitrust academics, and, he has also had a meeting with the FTC to talk about the company that he had a hand in establishing in the year 2004.
The fact that Chris Hughes has taken part in the investigation is a big deal especially considering that he had left the company over 10 years ago. He had before argued that Facebook should be split up, now with the recent violation by Facebook, he can give the investigators names of people that they can discuss with and get information to critique the motives that are backing the major acquisitions of Facebook. Information like that will come in handy to bringing up a good case against Facebook to the FTC as well as Scott Hemphill from New York and Tim Wu from Columbia University.
Another one of our sources reported that the two antitrust academics are looking to create an argument for the breakup of Facebook on the basis of the company’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram. They are of the opinion that having acquired those two social platforms went against the antitrust rules as they (WhatsApp and Instagram) were employed as a means to remove any competition and guarantee the monopoly position that Facebook is currently in. If both academics are able to present a solid argument, they might be able to raise a case that could bring down Facebook. Hemphill stated that, “There is a direct connection between the conduct and the remedy — undo the acquisition”.
Although this may not be as easy as it sounds because making such an argument will require providing proof of Facebook’s plot to rule out any form of competition by acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram. This is what tells us the significance of the role of Chris Hughes as he can give leads to former and current employees and competitors which will in a huge way aid investigators gain understanding of the motive behind the acquisitions. Although Facebook still stresses that its acquisitions were “investments in innovation”.
We are not yet certain however if the FTC will decide to follow through with the investigation based on the argument of Wu and Hemphill, sources tell us that the investigations of the FTC are usually done discreetly.
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