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Facebook ditched plans to buy group video chat app Houseparty, over antitrust concerns


Facebook is easily the world’s largest social media platform and also the owner of billion-plus user platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram. While in the past, acquiring up and coming social media properties wouldn’t have been an issue, Facebook can’t do that now despite having more than enough cash for it.

According to the latest report in The New York Times, Facebook let go of the opportunity to buy out group video chat app, Houseparty, last year. This is because of the on-going antitrust investigation that is being carried out by US regulators regarding Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram as well as calls for Facebook to be broken up. Facebook was smart enough to realise that this is not the right time to acquire yet another social media networking company, lest it gives the antitrust regulators more ammunition to make their case regarding Facebook’s monopoly in social media networking stronger.

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook’s F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters

Houseparty is a popular group video calling and chat app which is quite popular among users under the age of 24. After Facebook’s disinterest, Houseparty has now been acquired by Fortnite maker Epic Games.

Facebook was fined $5 bn earlier this year, for the data and privacy violations following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating what prompted Facebook to acquire WhatsApp and Instagram. Whether it was out of fear that these products could be competing with Facebook or something else.

There have been calls to break up Facebook, from none other than one of Facebook’s co-founders Chris Hughes, as well as US Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, is completely opposed to the idea. Zuckerberg is of the opinion that Facebook as a single entity has the resources to ensure the spread of fake news is contained and user data privacy is maintained.“The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems is greater than Twitter’s whole revenue this year,” Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters in May this year. “We’re able to do things that I think are just not possible for other folks to do.”

Zuckerberg has also floated the plan to integrate Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram into a private messaging app. Facebook will begin branding Instagram as “Instagram from Facebook” and WhatsApp as “WhatsApp from Facebook” which is being considered as a step in the direction of integrating the messaging features of these three different platforms into one unified platform.

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