Zuckerberg defends buying Instagram amid antitrust scrutiny

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday offered some of his first public comments on his company’s controversial decision to buy Instagram amid intensifying scrutiny over Facebook’s power and market dominance. 

During a quarterly call with investors, Zuckerberg said he believes many of the recently launched antitrust investigations into Facebook “are going to be about our acquisition of Instagram.”

{mosads}He spent several minutes laying out Facebook’s view on why it acquired Instagram, a popular image-sharing platform, in 2012.

“If it’s helpful, I’ll go back to what it was like at the time,” Zuckerberg said, responding to an investor’s question about government scrutiny of its market dominance. 

“In 2012, we didn’t think about Instagram as competing with our core service,” he said, referring to Instagram as a “complementary” service to Facebook’s main app. He said the company hoped at the time it would reach 100 million users.

Instagram reached 1 billion monthly active users in 2018. 

“I know it can be really hard, given how well things have gone, to look back and remember what the world was like when we made this acquisition,” Zuckerberg said. “We ultimately thought we were going to do better work if we were building with Instagram.”

Critics have accused Facebook of quashing an up-and-coming competitor with its decision to buy Instagram, a platform that is popular with young people. 

Zuckerberg’s remarks came as Facebook faces antitrust investigations from the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and a coalition of 47 state attorneys general. The House Judiciary Committee has also launched an investigation into competition in the digital marketplace, which has focused heavily on the dominant players — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. 

The government investigators are also likely to look into Facebook’s acquisition of popular messaging app WhatsApp and its digital advertising business practices. 

Tags Mark Zuckerberg

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