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FTC may depose top Facebook leaders in antitrust probe: reports

FTC may depose top Facebook leaders in antitrust probe: reports
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly mulling deposing Facebook head Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergDemocrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Hillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote MORE and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as it probes whether the social media giant violated antitrust laws.

People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal and Fox Business that the FTC is mulling calling Zuckerberg and Sandberg, and that some top officials at Facebook are preparing for possible summons. 

Anti-trust probes often include several rounds of document requests, and interviews will take time to finish, indicating the FTC is not near the end of its investigation.

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However, the company appears focused on Zuckerberg’s appearance at the end of the month in front of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee where he and other top tech executives will testify.

“We look forward to sharing our views about the competitive landscape, along with other technology leaders, during this month’s Congressional hearing, while also demonstrating for enforcement agencies that our innovation provides more choices for consumers,” said a Facebook spokesperson. 

The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Zuckerberg and Sandberg were not called to testify in the FTC’s past investigation of Facebook over alleged consumer-privacy violations, a probe that produced a $5 billion settlement a year ago.

The FTC is currently investigating whether Facebook, which also owns other platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, illegally engaged in monopolistic business practices, including whether it tried to buy competitors to reduce competition.

The Justice Department and several state attorneys general are also probing Facebook and other platforms over anti-trust violations.