Facebook has declined to comment on the apparent leak. In the past, it has pushed for extra regulation (albeit limited) in place of a breakup.
There’s no certainty a defense like this would hold up. Columbia University professor and tech policy expert Tim Wu said that pointing to the FTC’s past approval would be “weak.” The regulator hadn’t considered the possibility that Facebook was buying Instagram and WhatsApp to squash competition, Wu said — it wasn’t going to rule out a breakup as circumstances changed. The difficulty of a breakup might not factor into the decision, either.
Facebook might have to offer