Wednesday 21 August 2019

Facebook being investigated over antitrust concerns

Development comes after Facebook agreed to pay a £4 billion fine over privacy violations.

(Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

By Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter

Facebook has reported strong quarterly results despite a £4 billion fine, though scrutiny of the firm shows no sign of easing with the revelation of a new antitrust investigation against it.

The social network said that it was informed of the probe by the US Federal Trade Commission in June – the same agency it agreed to pay a fine for privacy violations.

“The online technology industry and our company have received increased regulatory scrutiny in the past quarter,” Facebook said.

“In June 2019, we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company.

“In addition, in July 2019, the Department of Justice announced that it will begin an antitrust review of market-leading online platforms.”

Posted by Facebook on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Despite this, the tech giant shared details of healthy revenue at 16.9 billion dollars (£13.4 billion) for the three months up to June 30, an increase of more than £3 billion on the 13.2 billion dollars (£10.5 billion) it achieved during the same period last year.

Total costs and expenses took a noticeable jump in the last six months, at more than £8 billion compared to the previous year, as the tech giant factored in two billion dollars (£1.6 billion) and five billion dollars (£4 billion) of legal expenses accrued from the FTC fine.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the need to focus on protecting the privacy of its users, saying: “We had a strong quarter and our business and community continue to grow.

“We are investing in building stronger privacy protections for everyone and on delivering new experiences for the people who use our services.”

However, users appear to be undeterred by the increased scrutiny, with daily active users at 1.59 billion on average in June, and monthly active users at 2.41 billion, both making an increase of 8% year-over-year.

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