This month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Meta are facing off in federal court over the commission’s latest lawsuit against Meta. The lawsuit claims that Meta’s purchase of small VR fitness app, Within Unlimited, would prevent future competition in the VR fitness space.
Considering the time and resources the commission devotes to the case, you would expect Meta to crush the competition like an unstoppable machine.
However, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the company’s steepest round of layoffs, laying off 13% of the company’s staff, amid a wave of painful and painful hiring freezes and layoffs. widely publicized in the technology sector.
Meta has lost 70% of its value this year, totaling over $730 billion in market capitalization loss. This speaks to the difficulty of maintaining pole position in a space as unstable as social media, especially when it comes to new generations of customers. It is difficult to make a strong case for Meta’s so-called “market dominance” in this context, as the FTC seeks to do in its lawsuit.
It appears regulators in Washington are more focused than ever on hunting down fleeting allegations of anti-competitive behavior by tech companies, including Meta, at a time when many tech companies are already struggling to survive. The FTC chases ghosts and ignores market realities and consumer behavior.
The FTC’s dual mandate requires the agency to both promote competition and protect consumers from unfair trade practices. And while that mission couldn’t be more important right now, the agency’s two separate cases against Meta and its crusade against Big Tech fail to achieve those goals.
Instead of making straightforward accusations against obvious bad actors, the FTC seems to be contorting itself to find a reason to go after Meta. He already has an ongoing case challenging Meta’s acquisitions of Whatsapp and Instagram, which date back eight and ten years respectively.
However, the unchecked rise of TikTok, which poses huge privacy risks because China could collect Americans’ data, shows how badly the FTC lawsuit has aged.
In its lawsuit against Meta’s purchase of Within Unlimited, the commission already had to drop its claim that Meta even competes with Within. Instead, he had to double down on a perceived potential competition claim that has always been unsuccessful in court.
According to our pre-midterm poll, just 1% of voters prioritize technology regulation as a public policy issue they want Congress to address. And when we asked voters about regulatory priorities in technology, they focused on privacy and data security, not competition and antitrust.
Regulators have a responsibility to pay attention to what is happening in the market and who they are talking to. With these lawsuits, the FTC is fighting an imaginary old version of Facebook, not today’s Meta which is in a competitive duel for its future survival.
The FTC’s prosecution of Meta will ultimately limit innovation and provide no benefit to consumers, not to mention it’s a poor use of the agency’s limited resources. The FTC should focus on cracking down on practices that actually harm consumers instead of going after companies whose future growth is far from assured.
As the tech industry heeds this shift, regulators must too. The agency would be better off focusing its efforts on pursuing targeted policies that tackle consumer issues that really need to be addressed, rather than phantoms.
Adam Kovacevich is the founder and CEO of the Chamber of Progress, a tech industry political coalition promoting the progressive future of technology. Meta is one of the partner companies of the Chamber of Progress.
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