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Facebook’s Sandberg Pushes Back On Antitrust Allegations

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operations officer of Facebook, is pushing back against two antitrust lawsuits filed against the social media giant, CNBC reported on Friday (Dec. 11).

The lawsuits filed this week could break up Facebook’s ownership of Instagram, acquired in 2012, and WhatsApp, snapped up in 2014. Sandberg said approved mergers shouldn’t later be revoked.

“Those acquisitions were cleared and if you can buy a company, and eight years, 10 years later, the government can clear them and unwind it — that’s going to be a really big chilling problem for American business, we are not going to be competitive around the world,” Sandberg said in an interview with Tamron Hall published on Thursday, per CNBC.

Sandberg also said that contrary to claims, Facebook has competition like TikTok, SnapChat and others.

“There’s our services but there’s iMessage, there’s TikTok, there’s Snapchat, many of which have grown very big, very quickly,” Sandberg said. “I can’t get my own kids to post on Instagram because they’re so busy on Snapchat and TikTok. You know, if you want to get electricity today for your home, you’ve got one choice, but you’ve got lots of choice for your time and attention.”

Facebook is facing an antitrust lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday (Dec. 9) by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 46 states. The suit accuses Facebook of maintaining its monopoly by engaging in anticompetitive practices.

Some pundits have expressed concern that holding up mergers and acquisitions could stifle innovation. David Evans, chairman of Global Economics Group, said in a PYMNTS roundtable that competition authorities challenged just 2.8 percent of proposed mergers from 2008 to 2016.

The M&A landscape has been quiet due to the pandemic, with deal making down 70 percent from 2019, with just 40 transactions. M&A activity is expected to escalate post-pandemic, Doug Brown, digital banking senior vice president and general manager at NCR, told PYMNTS.

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