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Nov. 13, 2020, 12:54 p.m. EST

FTC chairman warns of antitrust threat as Facebook braces for action

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By Jon Swartz

In a speech that could foreshadow antitrust action against Facebook, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons warned Thursday that antitrust regulators should be concerned about dominant companies scooping up startups that are competitive threats. "A monopolist can squash a nascent competitor by buying it, not just by targeting it with anti-competitive actions," Simons said at an American Bar Association conference. "It may be easier and more effective to buy the nascent threat, only if to keep it out of the hands of others." Facebook has been criticized for its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in building its market influence, according to legal experts and privacy advocates.

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