WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative David
Cicilline, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's
antitrust subcommittee, said on Wednesday he would be
"comfortable with unwinding" Facebook Inc's acquisition
The antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday released a report on
Big Tech's abuses of market power but stopped short of naming
specific companies or acquisitions that must be broken up.
Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told Reuters in an
interview that Facebook should not have been allowed to buy
Instagram, a deal that the Federal Trade Commission approved in
"I would be comfortable with unwinding that. I think that's
the right answer," he said.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for
comment. It has said previously that Instagram was insignificant
at the time it was purchased and that Facebook built it into the
success it has become.
Any effort to unwind the deal would entail the government
filing a lawsuit and asking a judge to order the divestiture.
The congressional report released on Tuesday said that
Instagram was small at the time it was purchased, but that
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw its potential and noted it was
"building networks that are competitive with our own" and "could
be very disruptive to us."
According to the House panel's report on Tuesday, the
committee received an email from an unnamed former Instagram
employee on Sunday that disputed Facebook's contention that the
two apps could not easily be separated.
"They can just roll back the changes they've been making
over the past year and you'd have two different apps again," the
person wrote. "It's turning something on and off."
(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Diane Bartz in Washington
Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)