Facebook-Instagram Deal to be Delayed by FTC Antitrust Probe
Reports are circulating that the $1 billion Facebook-Instagram deal could be put on hold by as much as a year while the FTC conducts an antitrust investigation into the deal. As the New York Times indicates, “[t]he government could also be interested in whether a company is killing off a potential rival by swallowing it up.”
This is not the first time antitrust issues have been raised about Facebook’s activities. It currently is defending an antitrust complaint filed by PageRage which alleges Facebook pressured advertisers to stop doing business with them. In addition, allegations have been made that Facebook credits are anticompetitive as well.
Facebook announced updates to its Data Use Policy to make clear that they may use information collected to display ads to users outside of Facebook, a practice already engaged in by sites such as LinkedIn and Amazon. As explained by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, [e]verything you do and say on Facebook can be used to serve you ads. Our policy says that we can advertise services to you off of Facebook based on data we have on Facebook.”
A practice that was once employed by the Maryland Department of Corrections is now banned state-wide, as Maryland’s Governor signed legislation prohibiting employers from “request[ing] or requir[ing] that at an employee or applicant disclose [any] means for accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device.” California’s Assembly unanimously passed similar legislation this week and legislation is pending in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and in Congress.