The FTC alleged that Meta’s potential acquisition of Within, a VR firm, and Supernatural, a fitness app, is illegal. The commission cited the antitrust laws in the US, adding that Meta was trying to force its way to own the metaverse.
FTC Tries To Stop Meta Acquisition Of Within And Supernatural
According to the FTC, Meta is contemplating entering the VR fitness app sector. Although it has the resources to create its application, Meta bought Supernatural by acquiring the parent firm, Within.
With this move, the commission believes Meta would eliminate all potential innovation and rivalry in the sector. Meta would likely use its social networking effect to acquire more users, developers, and content.
The agency plans to stop Meta from acquiring Within. This is in a bid to promote fairness, help consumers and foster healthy competition. As stated in the complaint, if Meta buys Within, it would remove all competitive pressure in the fitness app market.
Furthermore, it is not new for Meta to buy any company it considers a threat to its growth. Two years ago, the commission also submitted a lawsuit against Facebook.
This was after it bought social media platform WhatsApp for $19 billion and Instagram for $1 billion in 2014 and 2012, respectively. It termed the company’s move an “anticompetitive conduct” as it tried to wipe out potential competitors.
FTC Accuses Meta Of Stifling Growth And Innovation
According to the FTC, Facebook was stifling the growth and innovation of the social media sector. Both apps, which offered photo sharing and messaging features, were rivals to Facebook and its Messenger app.
FTC stated then that:
“Facebook moving to buy Instagram for over $1 billion allegedly removes the potential threat it poses to the company. Also, its makes it difficult for other social platforms to scale their reach. The same goes for the purchase of WhatsApp. The company is trying all it can to buy out all competitors that threatens the monopoly of its mobile messaging app.”
Since the rebranding of Facebook to Meta last year, the social giant has been metaverse-focused. As a result, it has been working on several projects to expand its place in the metaverse.
This includes introducing a payment platform that would support digital currencies. In May, the company also opened a store in San Francisco where users can buy gadgets and hardware for the VR space.
However, the sale would go through if the court did not stop Meta from buying the VR firm before August 1st.