Federal Trade Commission officials have started a potential lawsuit against Facebook as part of the company's longstanding antitrust investigation. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC has not yet made a decision whether it will eventually sue Facebook. Preparing legal arguments for a possible lawsuit is often part of the investigation, but it also signals that the agency is nearing the end of its investigation.
Facebook declined to comment and the FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
In July last year, Facebook announced in a findings report that it was being investigated by the FTC, which was under ongoing antitrust investigations by the Justice Department and members of Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported later that summer that the FTC was specifically interested Previous acquisitions by Facebook and whether it made these purchases to stave off potential competition and spoke to the founders of several companies acquired by Facebook.
During an antitrust hearing in Congress in July this year, those deals were the focus of lawmakers, who questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook's takeover of Instagram and WhatsApp, and released documents showing how some competitors feared being put down by Facebook if they didn't sell.
Politico reported this last month The FTC also took testimony from Zuckerberg The agency declined to do so after previously investigating the social media giant on allegations of data breach that ultimately fined Facebook $ 5 billion.
The FTC could pursue a number of options as part of its current investigation, including obliging it to wind up previous mergers, curtail operations, or impose a fine, even though the agency would first have to prove its case in court or file a lawsuit on settlement with Facebook.