US competition enforcers are preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Facebook for more than a year over whether the social media giant has harmed competition and could file a case by the end of the year, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the inquiry is confidential. No final decision has been made, the person added.
A lawsuit by the FTC would mark another major escalation by U.S. officials in their campaign against America’s technology giants, which have come under intense scrutiny in Washington over their dominant market positions. The Justice Department is preparing to sue Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a matter of weeks.
Facebook and the FTC declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on the agency’s lawsuit preparation. It is standard practice for antitrust enforcers to prepare for litigation as part of an investigation, and filing a lawsuit would require a majority vote of the FTC’s five commissioners.
Technology giants are grappling with sprawling inquiries by federal agencies, Congress and state attorneys general. The U.S. House antitrust panel is preparing recommendations for reining in the power of tech companies like Facebook after a yearlong investigation of the industry. On Tuesday, a Senate Judiciary panel laid out a case for how Google has used its dominance in search and digital advertising to benefit its products and harm competition.