Facebook could foresee anti-trust judgment

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) over anti-trust concerns, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The injunction would likely seek to block Facebook from enforcing policies around how its apps interact with each other and work with potential rivals, the Journal reported. It could even seek to keep Facebook from pushing forward with its plans to integrate its three messaging services, in case the agency later attempts to unwind its past acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp as a potential remedy.

A majority of the five commissioners, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, would need to vote to seek the injunction.

A spokesperson for the FTC declined to comment. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook has previously shared its plans to integrate its three messaging apps, Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, and encrypt all three from end-to-end. Law enforcement officials including Attorney General William Barr have raised concerns with Facebook’s plans on the grounds that they could make it harder for investigators to detect instances of child exploitation online and become a safe haven for criminals.

Facebook has argued the move would be a positive move for users’ overall, providing them with greater privacy in their communications, protected even from the company itself.

But an injunction would show that Facebook’s plans have also raised antitrust concerns among federal regulators.

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