The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is forming a new task force whose assignment will be to monitor mergers and acquisitions in the technology industry. It will also track the growth of individual companies, to make sure consumers are safe, and reaping the benefits of free and fair competition.
The task force will be comprised of current officials working in the agency's Bureau of Competition, as well as 17 staff attorneys whose job will be to investigate anti-competitive behaviour in the industry.
Besides monitoring companies and their future moves, the task force may also retrospectively look into previous mergers and acqusitions. No one is willing to mention any names, but the media were quick to point their fingers into Facebook.
Its acquisitions of both Instagram and WhatsApp are now in the spotlight, and the possibility of the company being forced to split into three is not yet off the table.
Apparently, Facebook has been repeatedly violating privacy agreements, and a coalition of advocacy groups argued (opens in new tab) that Facebook was too big to handle user data for all three companies properly.
“Technology markets, which are rapidly evolving and touch so many other sectors of the economy, raise distinct challenges for antitrust enforcement,” said Bureau Director Bruce Hoffman. “By centralizing our expertise and attention, the new task force will be able to focus on these markets exclusively – ensuring they are operating pursuant to the antitrust laws, and taking action where they are not.”
Image Credit: Anthony Spadafora