FTC chief: Breaking up tech companies is 'messy,' but still doable

In an interview, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons said it would be possible to undo past mergers.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons said the FTC could break up tech companies. 

Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission is apparently willing to break up big tech companies if it has to. In an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday, FTC Chairman Joe Simons said that if necessary, the FTC could undo past mergers.

"It's not ideal because it's very messy. But if you have to you have to," he said. 

The FTC is currently investigating whether companies like Facebook have made anticompetitive moves. The agency is reportedly focused on whether Facebook's purchases of companies such as Instagram and WhatsApp were part of the social media giant's strategy to stifle competition. Facebook revealed earlier this month that the FTC had launched an antitrust probe into the company, but didn't provide many details. The announcement came shortly after the agency said it was fining Facebook a record-setting $5 billion for alleged privacy missteps. 

In July, the Department of Justice kicked off its own antitrust review of online platforms.

The FTC declined to comment. 

Watch this: Facebook FTC settlement puts Zuck personally on the hook