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OFT to investigate Facebook's Instagram acquisition

Facebook's takeover of photo-sharing app Instagram will be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over concerns the social network will stifle competition by preventing Instagram users from uploading pictures to other social media sites.

Interested parties have until 5 July to submit relevant comments and queries to the UK competition authority. The OFT will first have to decide whether the acquisition is within its jurisdiction, and then whether it can identify negative effects resulting from the takeover before issuing any directives or forwarding the issue to the UK Competition Commission.

The company has already addressed the agency's initial queries, the Guardian reports.

"We'll continue to work closely with the OFT and look forward to answering any questions that arise," Facebook said in a statement.

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is also investigating the deal, with similar concerns about its implications on competition.

Facebook's $1 billion (£646 million) acquisition of Instagram in April immediately raised concerns about what the company's intentions would be for the app and for its more than 50 million users. The company is staunchly making its move into the mobile market, with the release of its iOS camera app and rumours of a forthcoming Facebook-branded smartphone.