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Facebook Says F.T.C. Has Opened Formal Antitrust Investigation



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.

The company revealed the investigation in its quarterly earnings announcement, saying the FTC had informed him last month of the move. While the F.T.C. it was known to be looking into Facebook and whether it had used its reach and clout to reduce competition, an antitrust investigation has begun a more formal and intensive phase of screening

Earlier Wednesday, the F.T.C. set out how it was penalizing Facebook for privacy violations. In that agreement, Facebook was fined a record $ 5 billion for deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal data. The company was also commissioned to create new layers of oversight and new practices for its collection and handling of user data. But the settlement, which did not limit Facebook's gathering, sharing and use of personal information, was criticized by lawmakers for not going far enough in curtailing its data-mining practices

The twin developments nevertheless highlighted the new reality for big tech companies

said Mr. Gavil, and former senior F.T.C. official

Investigations can take months or even years. They result in staff presentations, made by the agency's economic bureau and by its competition bureau, made in private to the five commissioners. The politically appointed commissioners then decide whether to bring a case or not, or try to reach a settlement.

Unlike the privacy case, there is no provision for fines in a civil antitrust case. But what can happen, if a corporate defendant is found to have violated the nation's antitrust law, is follow-on cases by private plaintiffs such as other companies

For now, the activity of the authorities has done little to squeeze Facebook's business . The company said on Wednesday that revenue for its second quarter rose 28 percent from a year ago to $ 16.9 billion. Profits fell 49 percent to $ 2.6 billion as Facebook took a one-time $ 2 billion charge to pay the FTC's fine and recorded a tax charge related to tax deductions, but excluding those that were still performing better than Wall Street had expected. 19659002] This is a developing story and will be updated


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