Facebook is currently in a rush to integrate the backend of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp Messenger and enable interoperation between the disparate platforms. One of the reasons for the haste is believed to be plans by the U.S. Government to block this on Facebook antitrust concerns related to competition and privacy grounds, and now the Wall Street Journal reports on the first evidence of such a move.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook to prevent further integration of the services. This will be on the basis of antitrust concerns, as the larger platform would prevent the rise of competitors and would prevent interoperability by other networks.
As part of the Facebook antitrust investigation, the FTC is also concerned that integration now would prevent them from breaking up the services in the future. Facebook has announced that there are a combined 2.5 billion people on their 3 messaging platforms and is currently under investigation by the FTC for their data handling practices.
A decision about whether the FTC will go ahead with requesting an injunction is expected as soon as next month, and this may also include forcing Facebook to open up interoperability with competitors. Such an injunction would require the commission to file a suit in federal court.
Facebook for its part has said it will operate the combined networks with a new “Privacy-Focused Vision” which focusses on key principles, including user privacy, better encryption, interoperability, secure data storage, and reducing permanence.
Facebook did not comment on the specific report, however.