Facebook says forced government breakup would be too hard and expensive

Facebook says forced government breakup would be too hard and expensive
The House Antitrust Subcommittee will soon release the findings of an investigation into Facebook and other companies. In anticipation of that, the social media giant is readying its worst-case scenario defense.

Facebook doesn't want to divest of WhatsApp or Instagram


Democratic lawmakers are expected to call on Congress to weaken the power of Facebook later this month. Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the subcommittee, has suggested it could recommend the separation of platforms.

That means Facebook may be forced to divest itself of either Instagram or WhatsApp, which it acquired in 2012 and 2014 respectively, or both platforms in the future. Of course, Facebook will be given the opportunity to argue against that.

Papers created by Facebook employees based on work commissioned from lawyers at Sidley Austin LLP and viewed by The Wall Street Journal offer a preview of the company’s defense in that scenario.

Facebook has invested billions into both WhatsApp and Instagram since it acquired them to boost growth. In recent months and years, the company has moved to integrate aspects of these apps with other Facebook products too.

In its defense, Facebook looks set to argue that unwinding the deals would be extremely difficult and the need to maintain completely separate systems could cost billions of dollars. The company believes it’ll also weaken security and harm the user experience.

The 14-page document concludes the arguments by stating that “A ‘breakup’ of Facebook is thus a complete nonstarter.”

The full findings of the House Antitrust Subcommittee are expected to be published later this month. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, is scheduled to testify before Congress regarding antitrust issues on Wednesday, October 28, alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

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