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The FTC’s Antitrust Case Against Facebook Stakes Out New Ground

Dec. 16, 2020, 9:00 AM

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission jolted the market on Dec. 9 with filings that seek to force Facebook Inc. to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC is trying to achieve something that hasn’t happened in four decades: the breakup of one of America’s biggest companies. The last giant U.S. company to be dismantled was AT&T in 1984.

What makes the case all the more surprising is that it’s the FTC, often criticized for lax enforcement, and not the U.S. Department of Justice pushing for the breakup. “The Facebook case is a really big deal,” says Sam Weinstein, ...