Facebook (FB) may be slapped with US anti-trust charges as soon as November, it has been reported.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Facebook is using its dominant position to stifle competition in the sector.
The consumer trust agency, which met confidentially on Thursday, is preparing a possible lawsuit against the social media network, while state attorneys general under the leadership of New York’s Letitia James have been scrutinising it for potential threats to competition, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sources told the newspaper that no final decision had been made on whether a case will be brought against Facebook.
In August, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he was interviewed at a two-day FTC hearing as part of an antitrust probe into the company.
The FTC, headed by Republican chairman Joseph Simons and responsible for consumer protection in America, has spent more than a year carrying out the investigation into Facebook’s practices.
Part of the probe includes Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp and whether it was a bid to stamp out its rivals in the industry.
The FTC is made up of five members and will need a majority vote in order to bring a lawsuit against Facebook.
It comes just days after the US Justice Department announced an antitrust lawsuit against Google (GOOG) and its search dominance in the US. The suit for unlawful monopolisation is supported by 11 states.
The department says Google’s conduct harms competition and consumers and reduces the ability of new innovative companies to develop and compete.
The heads of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon all faced a congressional hearing in July where they were questioned about antitrust allegations as well as political bias.
In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5bn (£3.8bn) fine to resolve a separate FTC investigation around the company’s data privacy.
Yahoo Finance has reached out to Facebook for comment.
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