Officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are considering seeking a primary injunction against Facebook based on antitrust concerns related to how the social media giant's apps interact, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
People familiar with the matter told the outlet that if action materializes it will focus on how Facebook integrates apps or allows them to work with potential rivals.
The agency could reportedly seek to halt Facebook from further integrating apps that federal regulators might look to unwind as part of a potential future breakup of the company.
Apart from its main social network, Facebook also owns Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
A majority of the five-member FTC would be required to seek an injunction. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Journal's report.
Facebook also did not immediately respond.
Some people familiar with the matter told the Journal that FTC officials are concerned that allowing Facebook's integration to continue could hamper future efforts to break up the company in an antitrust case.
Another source told the Journal that the FTC would seek the injunction based on “interoperability” rules that govern how digital platforms interact based on concerns that Facebook’s policies limit the competitiveness of other services.
Facebook in January said it was considering sharing its plans to integrate its three messaging apps — Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp.
The company explained that doing so, while also encrypting the communications on the services, would give users more privacy and security.
Facebook also faces an antitrust investigation brought from a coalition of state attorneys general, while the Department of Justice has announced a broad review of the technology industry for antitrust reasons.