Mark Zuckerberg's Meta Withheld Key Details In Instagram And WhatsApp Acquisitions, FTC Claims

Zinger Key Points
  • FTC alleges Meta withheld key acquisition details.
  • Meta seeks case dismissal, citing consumer benefits.

Meta Platforms Inc META is under fire for allegedly withholding information from federal regulators during the reviews of its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, according to a recent court filing by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC is pushing to dismantle the social media conglomerate through an ongoing lawsuit, Bloomberg reported.

Meta, previously known as Facebook, led by Mark Zuckerberg, acquired Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The FTC examined both deals at the time, Instagram through a thorough review and WhatsApp via a brief 30-day check.

However, the agency has since been criticized for approving these transactions, leading to a 2020 lawsuit alleging that Meta monopolized the social networking market by buying emerging competitors.

In its latest filing, the FTC claims that Meta withheld crucial information during the original acquisition reviews. "The FTC now has available vastly more evidence, including pre-acquisition documents Meta did not provide in 2012 and 2014," the filing states.

The FTC argues that the limited review requested by Meta at the time was insufficient.

Also Read: Meta Faces EU Investigation Over Child Safety Concerns: Report

Meta, seeking to have the case dismissed before it goes to trial, contends that its substantial investments in Instagram and WhatsApp have greatly benefited consumers.

"The evidence instead shows that Meta faces fierce competition and that Meta's significant investment of time and resources in Instagram and WhatsApp has benefited consumers by making the apps into the services millions of users enjoy today for free," said Meta spokesperson Chris Sgro.

Instagram has been pivotal to Meta's success, generating $16.5 billion in revenue in the first half of 2022, almost 30% of the company's total revenue.

Despite this, the FTC alleges Meta has increased the ad load on Instagram and Facebook and neglected to innovate and improve Instagram's features.

This isn't the first time Meta has been accused of withholding information. In 2017, European antitrust regulators fined the company $122.1 million (110 million euros) for providing misleading details about the WhatsApp acquisition.

Meta stock has gained more than 99% in the last 12 months. Investors can gain exposure to the stock via Vanguard Communication Services ETF VOX and Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund XLC.

Price Action: META shares are trading higher by 2.22% at $487.71 at the last check on Wednesday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Read Next: Meta Pulls Plug On Enterprise Communication Tool Workspace After 10 Years

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