Sunday, March 7, 2021

Facebook may be forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp over abuse of power

Also Google and digital advertising firms are the targets of fresh privacy complaints filed in six EU countries on Thursday.

Other News

Ahli Parlimen Tebrau nafi dakwaan PH berhubung tekanan dari LHDN dan SPRM

Steven Choong berkata tuduhan pemimpin Pakatan Harapan adalah tidak berasas.

Tebrau MP denies PH claim of pressure from tax and anti-graft agencies

LHDN and MACC also deny being used to pressure opposition politicians and their family members.

PDRM nafi dijadikan ‘senjata politik’ sekat demokrasi

SPRM turut senada dengan PDRM nafi dakwaan agensinya dijadikan alat politik.

Aktiviti sukan individu, berpasukan dibenarkan di kawasan PKPB, PKPP

Kebenaran itu tertakluk kepada arahan kawalan pergerakan yang sedang berkuat kuasa dan kebenaran pihak berkuasa berkaitan.

Malaysia catat 1,680 kes baru Covid-19 hari ini

Kes baru masih menunjukkan trend penurunan dengan catatan angka di bawah 2,000 kes.

Facebook has become the subject of US federal lawsuits for allegedly violating anti-trust laws and exhibiting anti-competitive behaviour.

The social media mega-corp is facing two separate lawsuits in the US which accuse it of abusing its power by buying up competition. The suits demand that it sells off giant “family members” WhatsApp and Instagram.

Not so long ago when scrappy start-up Facebook replaced Myspace in the affections of the cyber-going public, it was mostly about posting pictures of cute kids, cuddly cats and your dinner.

It has since grown into a vast sprawling octopus of a conglomerate which many feel now threatens the American sense of fair play in business.

Facebook is accused of breaking competition law by suppressing innovation, cutting privacy protections for users of its platforms and monetising data, according to New York’s attorney-general, Letitia James.

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” she said.

“Facebook’s predatory acquisition of companies has sapped confidence in the market, and the lawsuit will ask that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp be judged illegal.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s company bought Instagram in 2012 for US$1 billion and WhatsApp two years’ later for US$19 billion, purchases which have helped Facebook dominate the social media world ever since and seen its value skyrocket to US$800 billion on a good day.

In response, Facebook said it was reviewing the complaints but added it was clear that the lawsuit showed “no regard for the impact that precedent would have on the broader business community or the people who choose our products every day”.

US technology stocks have largely enjoyed a boom in their market values this year with investors correctly betting such companies would be immune to Covid-19 disruption and would benefit from people working from home and shopping online.

But the sector’s success has been met with increased scrutiny over the giant companies’ behaviour both at home and abroad.

In October, the US Department of Justice sued Google claiming it had abused its market power to fend off rivals.

And now Google and digital advertising firms are the targets of fresh privacy complaints filed in six EU countries on Thursday over the way they sell ads to potential advertisers through complex bidding processes.

Real-time bidding systems are based on collecting people’s browsing history, which may reveal intimate personal data, which are then broadcast to hundreds or thousands of companies so they can auction and place ads.

As in so many of these systems, the user’s consent is not sought.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Umno man apologises to Yeo in settlement of defamation suit

In his statement of apology, Jamal Yunos also acknowledges that Yeo Bee Yin was 'honest and transparent' in her management of the funds in question.

Facebook to pay US$650 million settlement over US privacy dispute

During the trial, it emerged that Facebook was violating Illinois law by storing biometric data – digital scans of people's faces, in support of its face-tagging feature – without users' consent.

Australia passes landmark law requiring tech firms to pay for news

The new law paves the way for Google and Facebook to invest tens of millions of dollars in local content deals, and could prove a model for resolving the firms' tussles with regulators worldwide.

YouTube to roll out parent-approved accounts for tweens

The move responds to concerns about violence and other inappropriate content which may be viewed by minors on the massive video-sharing platform.

Facebook to restore Aussie news pages as deal reached on media law

The compromise means that Facebook and Google – the main targets of the law – are unlikely to be penalised so long as they reach some deals with local media firms to pay for news.