FTC Suit Against Meta Ensures it Will Earn Rather than Buy its Place in AR/VR Sector
Washington, D.C. — The American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement applauding the Federal Trade Commission’s 3-2 vote to file suit against Meta’s pending acquisition of Within.
“With its newly released lawsuit, the FTC’s majority is ensuring Facebook earns, rather than buys, its place in the emerging virtual and augmented reality sector,” said Krista Brown, Senior Policy Analyst at the American Economic Liberties Project. “This is the agency’s first challenge to a big tech merger, and it represents its new commitment to protecting fair competition in nascent digital markets. The effects of Facebook’s pending acquisition of Within, which are laid out in the newly released complaint, would reduce innovation and competition in a sector just getting off the ground.”
The vote to challenge this merger was 3-2, with Democratic commissioners Lina Khan, Rebecca Kelly-Slaughter, and Alvaro Bedoya supporting a challenge and the Republicans Christine Wilson and Noah Phillips voting against it.
“It is critical that Republican policymakers stop facilitating the dominance of Big Tech firms,” said Brown. “Wilson and Phillips voted against the initial antitrust claim against Facebook when it was brought under the Trump administration, and now are allowing the firm to leverage its power to expand its footprint.”
Facebook, which is facing regulatory pressure due to its predatory behavior in social networking, rebranded itself as Meta and began branding all VR/AR technology as part of the “Metaverse.” Facebook has already committed 20 percent of its workforce to VR/AR development, and has considerable resources to invest, yet the firm has already made half a dozen acquisitions in the space adhering to Mark Zuckeberg’s famous mantra of “it’s better to buy than compete.”
It is critical to keep this nascent technology open to all comers, and to encourage firms like Facebook to compete based on their ability to create better products and not based on their ability to monopolize.
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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.