SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook revealed Wednesday that it was the goal of an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, just hours after the agency unveiled a privacy settlement with the company, and stressed the steady flow of measures regulators are taking to limit the power of America's technology giants.
The company revealed the investigation in its quarterly income statement and said the FTC had informed the last month of the move. While F.T.C. was known to look at Facebook, and if it had used the range and efforts to reduce competition, an antitrust investigation starts a more formal and intensive phase of the survey.
However, twin developments highlighted the new reality for large technology companies: Supervision by regulators and legislators has become a constant.
Over the last 10 days alone, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have faced grilling from the congress and questions from regulators. Last week, leaders from the companies attended a hearing on antitrust issues. Google also emerged from its own hearing on censorship and Facebook testifying to Capitol Hill on a new cryptocurrency initiative. This week, the Justice Department said it would launch a antitrust review of how internet giants had accumulated market power and whether they had acted to reduce competition.
"The electronic technology industry and our company have been given increased regulatory control in the last quarter," Facebook said in a statement Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, said he supported the FTC privacy settlement
"We're going to change the way we operate across the company. From management down to the ground," he told employees at a meeting in The company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, "If we don't, we'll be held accountable for it." said the FTC's investigation represented a commitment to resources for employees and agencies. "It also suggests that there is reason to believe that there is competitive behavior to look at," he said.
FTC's long privacy survey on Facebook might have brought forward evidence that helped persuade the agency to continue an antitrust investigation, said Mr. Gavil, a former senior FTC official.
Surveys may take months or even They result in staff presentations, by the agency's financial agency and by the competition agency, made private to the five commissioners. The politically appointed commissioners then decide whether to bring a case or not, or try to reach a settlement.
Unlike the privacy case, there is no provision for fines in a civil antitrust case. But what can happen, if a business appeal is found to have broken the country's antitrust law, is follow-up cases from private plaintiffs like other companies.
Currently, the authorities' activity has done little to push Facebook's business. The company said Wednesday that revenue for the second quarter increased 28 percent from a year ago to $ 16.9 billion. The surplus fell 49 percent to $ 2.6 billion as Facebook took a one-time $ 2 billion fee to pay the FTC's fines and recorded an accounting expense related to tax credits, but without them, the company still outperformed Wall Street's expectations.  This is an evolving story and will be updated.