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Washington, D.C. “ Following a burgeoning shareholder revolt this week against CEO Mark Zuckerberg for running his company like a corporate dictatorship, Facebook faces yet another critique in a new Economist special report. It details a disruption in current antitrust thinking, and the revival of an antitrust approach that would break up Facebook and blunt its effort to build a social media monopoly based on targeted advertising and user manipulation.
The report states When Facebook took over WhatsApp, a popular messaging service, for about $23bn in 2014, the deal barely raised any eyebrows in antitrust quarters. Today the acquisition would probably be blocked, because it has since become clear that Facebook was taking over a serious rival. And despite promises to the contrary, the social network proceeded to merge some of the two firms data...As well as blocking new mergers, this approach could involve unwinding some that have already happened. One proposal tabled in Chicago was to require Facebook to spin off WhatsApp and Instagram. This echoes Freedom From Facebooks calls for the FTC to step in and reestablish competition in the social media space by breaking up the platform.
Freedom From Facebook member Open Markets Institute originally called for the restructuring of Facebook in a March 2018 Guardian piece.