The (FTC) United States Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to thwart the social media giant’s “ultimate goal of owning the entire metaverse.”
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Northern Territory of California, the FTC said Meta and Zuckerberg’s potential purchase of virtual reality firm Within and fitness app Supernatural is illegal under U.S. antitrust laws and that the social media firm is not “to compete on the merits” instead.
He claimed it was a way to “buy his way to the top.” The complaint alleged that Zuckerberg directed Meta as a “potential entrant to the virtual reality-exclusive fitness app market” with the resources to develop its app but instead chose to own Supernatural by purchasing Within.
It has been argued that this move would hinder “future innovation and competitive competition” among companies in the United States.
Meta’s claim to buy out potential threats to the bottom line is nothing new. The FTC filed a complaint against Facebook in 2020 for “anti-competitive behavior” for its purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 and Instagram for $1 billion in 2012- before the firm took the name Meta- and similar denial of innovation had expressed concerns.
Both apps, which offer messaging services and photo sharing, were allegedly rivals to Facebook’s Messanger app and its main platform. Since Facebook took the name Meta in October 2021, the social media firm has announced several initiatives focused on expanding the metaverse, including the potential to launch a payment platform that supports cryptocurrency.
In May, Meta opened a real-world store in San Francisco Bay Area that sells hardware for the virtual reality space. Unless the court stops Meta from purchasing Within, the sale will likely occur on August 1, according to the complaint.