Facebook co-founder working with government officials to build anti-trust case against site: report

Facebook co-founder working with government officials to build anti-trust case against site: report

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes reportedly met with the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and multiple state attorneys general in recent weeks to discuss breaking up Facebook.

Hughes and two prominent antitrust academics, Scott Hemphill and Tim Wu, met with federal and state officials and have laid out a possible antitrust case against the social media giant, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The group argues that Facebook has made “serial defensive acquisitions” to maintain its control over the market and allow the company to hike up advertising prices while also lowering the quality of the user experience, according to The Times.

It is unclear the extent of Hughes’s role in the meetings with regulators, but The Times notes that he could help investigators connect with current and former Facebook employees and competitors. A partly redacted copy of the slides showed the names of people to interview blacked out, the newspaper reports.

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The news comes after Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into whether the country’s largest tech companies have stifled competition or harmed consumers in its broadest inquiry into potential tech antitrust violations yet. Facebook, Google and Amazon could all be implicated in the probe.

Facebook separately announced Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission had opened an antitrust investigation into the company on the heels of a record $5 billion privacy fine from the agency over its handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

And on Thursday, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrUS attorney blames Philadelphia DA for 'culture of disrespect' that led to police shootings GOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony MORE met with a group of eight state attorneys general to discuss antitrust concerns about tech giants.

Since leaving Facebook more than 10 years ago, Hughes has previously called for the social media giant to be broken up, calling Zuckerberg’s power “unprecedented and un-American” in a May op-ed, pointing to his “staggering” influence at the company that controls Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Hughes wrote that Facebook should be separated into multiple companies and urged the FTC and Justice Department to enforce antitrust laws by undoing the platform’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.