Dopo aver promosso azione contro Google (v. mio post del 28.10.2020, US contro Google: partita l’azione antitrust) , gli Stati Uniti ora agiscono pure verso Facebook.
La Federal Trade Commission FTC ieri ha depositato l’atto indtroduttivo contro Facebook per illegal monopolization. V. la notizia nel sito di FTC e qui il link al testo completo (con qualche omissis) del ricorso introduttivo datato 09.12.2020 .
Sostanzialmente sono ravvisati due tipi di condotte anticoncorrenziali: le acquisizioni di potenziali concorrenti e pratiche escludenti per l’accesso alle API’s.
Il primo tipo consiste soprattutto nell’acquisizione di Instagram e Whatsapp,
Il secondo prevedeva clausole anticompetitive per accedere alle sue interconnessioni, application programming interfaces (“APIs”), con cui devono interagire le applicazioni di terze parti (<<the imposition and enforcement of anticompetitive conditions on access to APIs in order to suppress and deter competitive threats to its personal social networking monopoly>>, § 71.c). Precisamente <<in order to communicate with Facebook (i.e., send data to Facebook Blue, or retrieve data from Facebook Blue) third-party apps must use Facebook APIs. For many years— and continuously until a recent suspension under the glare of international antitrust and regulatory scrutiny—Facebook has made key APIs available to third-party apps only on the condition that they refrain from providing the same core functions that Facebook offers, including through Facebook Blue and Facebook Messenger, and from connecting with or promoting other social networks>> (§ 23, p. 8). Analiticamente sub D.1, al § 138 ss.
Il documento è interessante. Si v. ad es. il § sul business model di Facebook, IV.B, § 43 ss , p. 12 ss: <<while there are other ways in which personal social networking could be monetized, Facebook has chosen to monetize its businesses by selling advertising that is displayed to users based on the personal data about their lives that Facebook collects>>.
Si v. poi il petitum finale (p. 51-2, soprattutto il punto B):
A- that Facebook’s course of conduct, as alleged herein, violates Section 2 of the Sherman Act and thus constitutes an unfair method of competition in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a);
B – divestiture of assets, divestiture or reconstruction of businesses (including, but not limited to, Instagram and/or WhatsApp), and such other relief sufficient to restore the competition that would exist absent the conduct alleged in the Complaint, including, to the extent reasonably necessary, the provision of ongoing support or services from Facebook to one or more viable and independent business(es);
C – any other equitable relief necessary to restore competition and remedy the harm to competition caused by Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct described above;
D – a prior notice and prior approval obligation for future mergers and acquisitions; 51
E – that Facebook is permanently enjoined from imposing anticompetitive conditions on access to APIs and data;
F – that Facebook is permanently enjoined from engaging in the unlawful conduct described herein;
G – that Facebook is permanently enjoined from engaging in similar or related conduct in the future;
H – a requirement to file periodic compliance reports with the FTC, and to submit to such reporting and monitoring obligations as may be reasonable and appropriate; and
I – any other equitable relief, including, but not limited to, divestiture or restructuring, as the Court finds necessary to redress and prevent recurrence of Facebook’s violations of law, as alleged herein
Si lamenta però, verso l’azione antirust de qua, che da un lato anche senza Instagram e Whatsapp , FB conserverà un notevole data advantage; dall’altro, che l’azione stessa non si cura di dare un maggiore controllo agli utenti sui propri dati (così Stucke M.E. , Why Isn’t the FTC Tackling Facebook’s Data-opoly?, promarket.org, 05.01.2021).