The head of the Federal Trade Commission said he’s prepared to break up big tech companies by undoing past mergers as the agency probes whether the firms are hurting competition.
Joe Simons, the FTC chairman who is leading a wide-ranging review of Silicon Valley mainstays like Facebook, said Tuesday that breaking up a corporation can be challenging — but it could be the right tool to rein in companies that have broken the rules of fair competition.
“If you have to, you do it,” Simons told Bloomberg. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to, you have to.”
Facebook purchased Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Both of those acquisitions were approved at the time by the FTC. However, antitrust regulators could still unwind such mergers. They would need a court order.