FTC chairman says Facebook’s plan to merge brands may make it harder to split: FT

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Facebook’s plan to integrate Instagram and WhatsApp more closely could hinder any attempts to break up the social media giant, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons told the Financial Times on Monday.

Simons said all options were on the table as the FTC investigates Facebook for potential antitrust violations, but added that any attempt from Mark Zuckerberg to combine the social media company’s three major brands could complicate any case, according to the FT report.

“If they’re maintaining separate business structures and infrastructure, it’s much easier to have a divestiture in that circumstance than in where they’re completely enmeshed and all the eggs are scrambled,” Simons told the FT.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from regulators around the world over data privacy practices and how its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram process personal data.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, and each is now used by more than 1 billion people.

Last month, Facebook said it would pay a $5 billion fine to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices and boost safeguards on user data.

The probe was triggered by allegations that Facebook violated a 2012 consent decree by inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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