Facebook's Zuckerberg questioned by FTC officials in antitrust probe

The agency is one of multiple enforcers, including the US Justice Department and states attorneys general, exploring Facebook’s market power and influence
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by officials from the US Federal Trade Commission over two days this week as part of an antitrust investigation into the social media company, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The FTC’s probe into the company was disclosed last summer. The agency is one of multiple enforcers, including the US Justice Department and states attorneys general, exploring Facebook’s market power and influence.

“We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry and answering the questions the agency may have,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. A spokeswoman for the FTC declined to comment.

Facebook is under investigation for whether it’s abusing its outsized share of the online advertising market, in addition to whether its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and its copying of competing apps’ features violate antitrust laws. At a congressional hearing last month, alongside the CEOs of three other technology giants, Zuckerberg defended those deals and argued that Facebook’s numerous products have a lot of competition.Zuckerberg’s FTC testimony was reported earlier by Politico.The FTC was criticized earlier this month for failing to meet with Zuckerberg during a separate, privacy-related investigation that started in 2018. 

“Sometimes it’s important to depose the CEO and sometimes it’s not necessary, but where it’s important and helpful, we try to do it,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons told a Senate panel on Aug. 5.Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who criticized the agency for its failure to depose Zuckerberg in its Cambridge Analytica data-protection probe, which resulted in a record $5 billion fine, responded that “the credibility of this investigation is going to depend on its completeness and aggressiveness.”

“It seems to me that the public will be satisfied only if you do depose the very top executives,” Blumenthal added.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel