Facebook Inc’s top executives could be required to testify before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the regulator investigates whether the California-based social media conglomerate has violated U.S. antitrust laws, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg are preparing for potential depositions, a source told The Journal.
Zuckerberg is already scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on July 27, where he and other top tech executives are expected to face tough questions from lawmakers.
Earlier this month, PYMNTS reported that the CEOs of the world’s four biggest technology companies will testify before the House Judiciary Committee as lawmakers investigate competition in the tech industry.
In addition to Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google, Apple’s Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos from Amazon are expected to answer questions about their business models. The House panel has pressed for tougher antitrust rules and enforcement.
Last year, the executives weren’t deposed in the FTC’s prior probe of Facebook for alleged consumer privacy violations that resulted in a record-breaking $5 billion penalty, new restrictions and a modified corporate structure that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users’ privacy.
An FTC spokeswoman declined to comment.
A Facebook spokesman told the outlet that the company has consistently shown to enforcement agencies that its innovations offer expanded choices to consumers. In addition, the spokesman noted that the social media company anticipates sharing its views about competition in the space with other tech leaders at the hearing.
Facebook owns a number of popular platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and boasts more than 2.5 billion global users. The company has emerged as a dominant player in the nation’s digital advertising market.
While the FTC has been examining whether Facebook has engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating online platforms over antitrust concerns with a focus on Google, sources told the newspaper.
This week, the state of California opened its own antitrust investigation into Google, putting more pressure on the global technology giant that is already facing allegations from most U.S. states and the DOJ.