Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.
Snapchat has presented a dossier to the Federal Trade Commission, to shore up the current investigation into unbecoming tactics Facebook reportedly used against the firm, in a bid to drive it into the ground.
Founded by Mark Zuckerberg and a few of his friends back in February 2004, Facebook has become the world’s largest social media platform and social networking service company. Today, the company has more than 2 billion active users and is also the second biggest platform for digital advertising only behind Google.
Along with Amazon, Google and Apple, Facebook is regarded as one of the big four tech companies and has consistently maintained a monopoly in the social media space. However, even with all these accolades, Facebook is one of the companies most plagued by legal issues.
For many years, the company has been hit with all sorts of investigations and lawsuits about its operations, especially regarding privacy and security. Now, a new antitrust investigation which was initiated a few months ago by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has taken a new turn as it has been revealed that one of the company’s many competitors has kept extensive records over the years, about Facebook’s illegal tactics.
Reports now have it that Snap, which is the parent company of the Snapchat social media app, has kept and maintained a dossier for the last couple of years, detailing Facebook’s illicit methods of stifling out the company. The set of records called Project Voldemort, which is a hard reference to an evil wizard who is the main villain in the Harry Potter book series, contains documents which describe moves Facebook has made in trying to run Snapchat into the ground.
Back in 2015, Facebook made a proposal worth $3 billion, to take over Snapchat for itself which was eventually turned down. Three years later in 2016, Facebook initiated another series of moves towards Snapchat, some of which involved Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, separately reaching out to individuals on the latter’s board. Even though Facebook never gave a specific figure, Snap still didn’t budge and instead went public in March 2017, raising approximately $30 billion on the first day of trading.
But not too long after the second refusal, Facebook began to copy Snapchat features, launching Instagram Stories in August 2016 and Facebook Stories in March 2017.
The problem with Facebook is not just the regular attacks market leaders get, as some might suggest. It’s a lot deeper. Facebook’s position as number one, and the firm’s desire to do everything within its power to retain the position is fairly understandable. However, any moves that directly work to actively suffocate competitors, depending on certain specifics, could be deemed as problematic for the social media giant.
For example, the Wall Street Journal reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg, met with Snap Chief Evan Spiegel, as well as Foursquare Inc., co-founder Dennis Crowley, and offered both of them an option to either accept his offer to purchase the companies or grapple with everything Facebook is capable of doing to make operations difficult for them including copying their style. Facebook has also been accused of deliberately suffocating any ads on any of its platforms that originate from rival companies.
This new development adds to Facebook’s long list of woes from the government as well as regulatory bodies, especially if the company’s forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, is considered. Many quarters including the U.S. Congress, aren’t very excited about the chance that a company like Facebook, which has given many people cause to doubt its credibility, will be floating its own cryptocurrency to billions of users all over the world.