Jul 24, 2019.SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it was the target of an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, just hours after the agency unveiled a privacy settlement with the company, underlining the steady stream of actions that regulators are taking to limit the power of America’s tech giants.
While the F.T.C. was known to be looking into Facebook and whether it had used its reach and clout to reduce competition, an antitrust investigation starts a more formal and intensive phase of examination.
Earlier Wednesday, the F.T.C. laid out how it was penalizing Facebook for privacy violations.
“The online technology industry and our company have received increased regulatory scrutiny in the past quarter,” Facebook said in a statement on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said he supported the privacy settlement with the F.T.C.”We’re going to change the way that we operate, across the whole company. From the leadership down, to the ground up,” he told employees in a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
The F.T.C.’s lengthy privacy inquiry into Facebook could well have brought out evidence that helped persuade the agency to pursue an antitrust investigation, said Mr. Gavil, a former senior F.T.C. official.
Profits fell 49 percent to $2.6 billion as Facebook took a one-time $2 billion charge to pay the F.T.C.’s fine and recorded an accounting charge related to tax deductions, but excluding those, the company still performed better than Wall Street had expected.