U.S. regulator weighs action against Facebook over how its apps interact -report

U.S. regulator weighs action against Facebook over how its apps interact -report

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook Inc (FB.O) because of concerns that policies about how its apps interact violate antitrust law, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos are seen on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Facebook shares was down 3% shortly before the close of trading.

If it goes forward, the FTC would ask a court to bar Facebook from enforcing policies regarding how its apps work with potential rivals, the newspaper reported. The FTC may also ask a court to forbid Facebook to move ahead with plans to integrate subsidiaries that it has purchased, the newspaper said.

Facebook and other tech giants are facing criticism over privacy lapses, how they handle vast quantities of consumer data, and accusations of bias in the polarized U.S. political environment.

The Wall Street Journal said the FTC could file for the injunction as early as next month.

Facebook and the FTC declined to comment.

Facebook plans to integrate its messaging services as part of a proposed shift toward more private forms of social networking, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced in March. Under the proposal, users of Facebook units Messenger, WhatsApp and the direct messaging system within Instagram will all be able to communicate with each other.

Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) face antitrust investigations by the Justice Department and House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

The FTC was also known to be investigating Facebook while groups of state attorneys general are looking at Facebook and Google.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Tuesday he hoped to have Justice Department investigations of the big tech platforms completed next year. Barr said the Justice Department review was not limited to antitrust, but that looking for anti-competitive behavior was “front and center.”

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Leslie Adler and Richard Chang

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