Facebook’s takeover of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 has been its most well known acquisitions in the last decade. Ever since then, the social media giant established an ecosystem between the two and its own social media platform and even enabled various cross-platform integrations along the way. However, one US congress member isn’t onboard with the company’s growth and suggests that it should be broken up.
“It seems to me we would be better off if they were multiple platforms,” said California Democrat and Silicon Valley representative Ro Khanna in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “I don’t think that merger [with Instagram] should have been approved in the first place.”
He explained that having Instagram and WhatsApp as separate entities would build up more competition, and expressed that there aren’t many robust social media platforms currently available. Khanna also referred to a bill introduced by fellow Democrat and Senator of Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, which challenges companies to prove a takeover isn’t anti-competitive. Bloomberg noted that the US Federal Trade Commission, which reviewed and approved Facebook’s aforementioned acquisitions in 2012 and 2014, had filed a lawsuit seeking to break the companies up in December of last year.
In addition, Khanna called for guidelines for content regulations during the interview, believing that these should not be determined by the heads of social media platforms such as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. “I don’t think that’s how we ought to operate,” he said.
The Silicon Valley Democrat also brought up the Internet Bill of Rights, a proposal he introduced in 2018, which ensures net neutrality by forbidding broadband providers from favouring their own content, guard against mass government surveillance, and provide individuals more control over their data. “I believe [technology is] a force for innovation and entrepreneurship, but we need stronger regulations on privacy, with my Internet Bill of Rights, and on antitrust to have a competitive playing field,” he added.