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FTC may block Facebook plans to integrate its messenger

By January 2020, a preliminary injunction is expected to block one of Facebook's most ambitious plans. The precautionary measure will be linked to the antitrust investigation opened by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States.

The initiative, reported The Wall Street Journal, will prevent the firm led by Mark Zuckerberg from integrating its messenger applications.

Said mandate, which will point against the “interoperability policies” of Facebook, will affect the way in which the different platforms of the firm interact with each other.

The concept was cited in March 2019 by Facebook's own CEO in a blog post. "People should be able to use any of our applications to communicate with their friends, and they should be able to communicate through networks easily and securely," he said.

Facebook has popular messenger applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, and has plans to combine all three.

The goal will be to provide end-to-end encryption on all your platforms and not just WhatsApp, as is the case today. In parallel, the firm has denied the backdoor requested by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, which allege public security reasons.

In addition to Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has many other applications and services, including Oculus VR, FriendFeed and LiveRail.

To prevent the integration of the three messenger platforms, most of the five members of the FTC will have to request a court order, all by filing a lawsuit in federal court.

The cause dates from August 2019, when the agency began to investigate whether Facebook tried to acquire its rivals in social networks before they became a threat to their interests.

Attorney generals from almost every state joined New York in a parallel investigation. In total, 47 of them are analyzing whether the social media giant "stifled competition" in a way that may have affected user data and ad prices.

At the same time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been doing the same since September.

The three initiatives have in common the alleged violation of the Sherman law, which prohibits “any contract, combination or conspiracy to restrict trade”, as well as any “monopolization, attempt to monopolize or conspiracy or combination to monopolize”.

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