Facebook Could Face Antitrust Actions Over Instagram Purchase


Facebook and Twitter have made headlines of late after getting grilled by the US Congress over their alleged censorship of sensitive stories.

Photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels.

And it looks like the hits just keep coming for Facebook as now the company’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram is coming under scrutiny.

Basically, it is being alleged that Facebook purchased Instagram in order to stifle it as potential competitor to the mother brand. While it can be argued that Instagram has since displaced Facebook among certain demographics, it has not totally outmoded the service. In fact, if anything, the two seem to be complementary to one another – at least on the surface.

Yet there is also the possibility that Instagram, something many would argue is fundamentally different from Facebook, could have posed a serious threat to company in the social media sphere.

This very line was picked up by Senator Amy Klobuchar who asked Mark Zuckerberg, “[W]e have some released internal Facebook emails in which you, Mr. Zuckerberg, wrote that Instagram was nascent and if they grow to a large scale they could be very disruptive to us. In a later email you confirm that one of the purposes of Facebook acquiring Instagram would be to neutralize a competitor. You wrote those emails that were mentioned in that House report, is that right, Mr. Zuckerberg?”

As PetaPixel highlights, Zuckerberg answered the question as to whether or not Facebook and Instagram would have competed directly, responding: “Senator, I believe so, I’ve always distinguished between two things, though. One is that we had some competition with Instagram in the growing space of kind of camera apps and photo sharing apps. But at the time I don’t think we or anyone else viewed Instagram as a competitor, as a large multipurpose social platform. In fact, people at the time kind of mocked our acquisition, because they thought that we dramatically spent more money than we should have to acquire something that was viewed as a primarily camera and photo-sharing app at the time. I think it’s important to distinguish.”

What do you think of Facebook’s purchase of Instagram? Was it a monopolistic move on Facebook’s part to purchase Instagram so early in that platform’s life? Has Instagram proven itself to be more relevant to social media now than Facebook? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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