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Report: FTC to lead possible Facebook antitrust probe

UPDATED: Mon., June 3, 2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes the keynote speech at F8, the Facebook's developer conference, in San Jose, Calif., on April 30, 2019. (Tony Avelar / AP)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes the keynote speech at F8, the Facebook's developer conference, in San Jose, Calif., on April 30, 2019. (Tony Avelar / AP)

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook’s stock plunged Monday following a Wall Street Journal report that the Federal Trade Commission will lead any antitrust investigation into the company as part of an arrangement that would give the Justice Department oversight of Google.

The FTC and the Justice Department oversee antitrust issues in the U.S. and must establish who will take the lead in different investigations. Citing unnamed sources the Journal said Monday the FTC secured the rights to begin a potential investigation into whether Facebook engaged in what it called “unlawful monopolistic behavior.”

The report said the Justice Department, in turn, will lead the Google probe.

The FTC is already investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations. The FTC declined to comment, and Facebook did not immediately respond to a message for comment. Facebook has set aside $3 billion for a possible fine for that investigation and said it could be as high as $5 billion.

Shares of Menlo Park, California-based Facebook closed Monday at $164.15, down $13.32, or 7.51%.

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