(RightWing.org) – During the presidential election, Facebook used its considerable influence and power to silence conservative voices that it didn’t agree with politically. President Donald Trump, and other conservatives, often saw their posts censored in either the form of a label disputing the post or even removing posts in some instances. On Wednesday, November 9, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a federal antitrust lawsuit to break up the massive tech giant. However, Facebook says a breakup of its business could be impossible.
Some say the action by the FTC is long overdue. In its lawsuit, the federal agency alleged that Facebook is a monopoly with the intent of “suppressing, neutralizing and deterring serious competitive threats.” In recent years, Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC says those businesses should be split from the tech giant.
Facebook Says Breakup Is Impossible
While government-forced breakups of large businesses are rare, they’re not impossible. In 1906, Standard Oil controlled almost all oil extraction, processing, and distribution in the United States. The federal government sued to break up the massive company and force it to divest 33 companies it purchased to eliminate competition. In 1911, the company was forced to break up, and only 8 companies remained under the Standard Oil Umbrella. Its legacy founded Mobil Oil, Amoco, Exxon, and British Petroleum.
For most of the 20th Century, AT&T dominated the telephone market. In 1984, it was forced to break up into 8 small companies. However, it didn’t last as all the companies that broke up reformed under the AT&T umbrella as cellular and cable providers.
Facebook is arguing that the forced business break-ups of the past are not equivalent to the integrated world of today.
At least, that’s what they want the public to believe.
Facebook Believes FTC Is Wasting Its Time
Facebook believes that forcing a break away from Instagram and WhatsApp is “a complete nonstarter” and doesn’t take the government’s case against it seriously. The giant company says by breaking it up, the quality of its products that billions of people use would be reduced significantly.
However, more importantly, the data of billions of users would be compromised. They claim the redundancy of personal data could compromise the user’s security. Additionally, Facebook argues the cost would be extraordinary to split the technologies.
Nonetheless, critics charge that Facebook created the complications by intertwining the data integrations to create a defensive posture and prevent its breakup. The FTC appears to argue that’s not a basis for allowing large monopolies to go unchecked and to be more powerful than many governments around the world.
While it would be an engineering challenge to break up the company, the government appears to believe the benefit outweighs the cost. Whether the lawsuit is a waste of time or a benefit for the public will ultimately be decided by a judge.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual for Facebook.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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