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WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to the Wall Street Journal, social media giant Facebook is currently looking down the barrel of a potential antitrust lawsuit, courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The news of the alleged suit, which is said to be filed by the end of the year, caused Facebook’s stock price to plunge, which had a negative effect on Nasdaq, the stock market index that includes almost all stocks listed on the market.
The FTC has spent over a year investigating accusations that Facebook has been utilizing its position as the biggest social media platform on the planet to keep any potential competition from encroaching on their perceived territory. The investigation, reports say, is part of a larger effort to look into the tech industry as a whole, especially as it pertains to the conduct of the biggest names in the field.
The WSJ’s sources indicate that no final decision has been made by the FTC to file the alleged lawsuit against Facebook; the FTC has a history of contemplating legal action against various entities accused of violating industry antitrust regulations but changing their mind, such as when it backed out of suing Google in 2013.
As part of its investigation into Facebook’s conduct, the FTC even questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is attempting to defend his company’s practices and head off the possible lawsuit. Previously, Facebook was forced to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the FTC after an investigation revealed that the social media giant mishandled the personal information of millions of its registered users.