Meta – also known as Facebook – is in the middle of yet another anti-trust controversy as American authorities seek to block its continued acquisition of other companies. At the center of the case this time is Meta’s plan to acquire virtual reality app developer Within. Yet, at the same time, Meta was listed as one of the top growing companies for 2022 by Morning Consult; even though the company lost billions in market share over the year and was recently forced to lay off large numbers of employees.
Call it Facebook, or call it Meta, one thing is certain: the company is in constant trouble with governments the world over due to its various practices. Usually, the issue at hand deals with the privacy of its users. For example, Facebook sold its users’ information to advertisers for use in targeted advertising over the years. It also followed their locations for similar purposes without informing them of this.
As for Meta’s antitrust problems, in October, the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered the parent company of Facebook sell its Giphy – an American online database and search engine that allows users to search for and share short looping videos with no sound – subsidiary due to antitrust concerns. Meta said that it disagreed with the ruling, but would comply with it. The UK was specifically concerned that Meta’s acquisition of yet another media platform would harm competition for the pricing of advertisements.
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So, what’s the problem with Meta/Facebook buying Within? Well, Within owns a popular subscription-based virtual reality workout app called Supernatural which is offered through Meta’s Quest app store. The American government is concerned with the anti-trust implications of Meta owning the same games and services offered through its VR devices.
The anti-trust case began in a California court last week after the American Federal Trade Commission sued in July to stop the deal. FTC lawyer Abby Dennis said in his opening statement, “Meta could have chosen to use all its vast resources and capabilities to build its own dedicated VR fitness app, and it was planning on doing that before it acquired Within.”
But there is good news for Meta, even should it lose the case over Within. Morning Consult reported that the company is getting more popular among Gen Xers and Baby Boomers and that the number of consumers in those two groups said that they would consider purchasing from the brand rose by 6.5% from January to October 2022.