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What Fb antitrust investigation?

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Fb seems to be counting on its age-old playbook whilst antitrust regulators examine the corporate for anti-competitive conduct. 

The social media app, which is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states, has a historical past of cloning well-liked options from its buzzy rivals. The most recent goal? None apart from the Clubhouse, the trendy new invitation-only audio app that enables customers to talk to one another or pay attention in to the dialog in a chatroom. 

Fb executives reportedly informed workers to create an analogous product, which is now its earliest phases of growth, according The New York Times. The information got here simply six days after Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopped on Clubhouse to speak about distant work and augmented and digital actuality. 

Zuckerberg isn’t the one tech exec to make an look on the app. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, and tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban all have gotten in on the motion. In the meantime, the app is quickly gaining customers and has develop into a hotspot for enterprise capitalists and techies. So it’s no shock that Fb might need a piece of that pie.   

The corporate did the identical factor after failing to buy Snapchat. As a substitute, it launched a Tales, quick video clips that disappear after 24 hours—a function usually credited to Snapchat. Fb additionally made a TikTok-like function when it released Reels in August

In response to its reported work on a Clubhouse-like app, a Fb spokesperson supplied Fortune the next assertion: “We’ve been connecting individuals via audio and video applied sciences for a few years and are all the time exploring new methods to enhance that have for individuals.” 

What is a shock—however maybe shouldn’t be—is Fb’s determination to proceed the participating in behaviors that led to the antitrust investigation within the first place. Regulators are involved that Fb makes use of aggressive acquisition techniques together with cloning different firms’ options as negotiation tactic. Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook has “adapted features that others have led in” after being grilled by the Home Antitrust Subcommittee final 12 months.

However up to now, the technique has labored in Fb’s favor. Fb continues to be the dominant social media app, producing $84.2 billion in income final 12 months. Instagram, which might’ve develop into one among its largest rivals had it not been acquired, has develop into one among its most beneficial belongings, and Tales are proving to be a promising function for advertisers. 

Because the saying goes, imitation is one of the best type of flattery—that’s except Fb is the imitator.  

Danielle Abril
@DanielleDigest
danielle.abril@fortune.com