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FTC might investigate Facebook over antitrust concerns

It's probably not the status update the social network was hoping for.

Facebook could be the subject of another government investigation. 
James Martin/CNET

The bad news keeps coming for Facebook, as a government agency reportedly obtained the right to investigate whether the company engaged in monopolistic practices. The US Federal Trade Commission secured rights to a potential antitrust investigation of Facebook, according to a Monday report in The Wall Street Journal. Through an agreement with the Justice Department, the FTC would lead such an inquiry.

An FTC spokesperson declined to comment.

Facebook set aside $3 billion for a possible settlement with the FTC over an investigation of the social media platform's privacy practices, but that deal reportedly hasn't been completed due to political infighting at the commission.

While the FTC is focused on Facebook, the Department of Justice reportedly has Apple and Google on its radar. On Monday, the DOJ reportedly received jurisdiction for a potential antitrust probe of the iPhone maker. This follows a report Friday that the DOJ is preparing to kick off an antitrust investigation of Google's search practices and other businesses.

These moves by the FTC and DOJ comes as Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants face renewed antitrust scrutiny in the US. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, has made it a key part of her platform to break up the big tech companies, including Google, Apple and Amazon. Earlier this month, Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, also called for the breakup of the company he helped create. 

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Originally published June 3, 9:57 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:55 a.m.: Adds background info. 

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