United States Federal Trade Commission Sues Meta From ‘Owning Entire Metaverse’
The FTC filed suit against Meta Platforms in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to block the company’s announced purchase of Within. This is the VR game developer behind the popular fitness app, Supernatural. This is a second suit against the company after FTC initially filed another one last year in august after Meta took control of both Whatsapp and Instagram. Making it a monopoly within the social media space.
This filing expands beyond the VR focus into the wider realm of the metaverse, which Meta – as the name implies is building towards. This is a move to curtail the monopoly power of Meta within the Web 3 metaverse.
The parent company of Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram is also the biggest player in the virtual reality (VR) space. The FTC believes that Meta’s planned acquisition of Within would be another move towards controlling it entirely.
If Meta is allowed to buy Within, competition in the VR- dedicated fitness app market will decay, because just ‘the mere possibility of Meta’s entry has likely influenced competition’ in the market.the filing alleges
The acquisition would “[dampen] future innovation and competitive rivalry,” the agency wrote, therefore violating antitrust laws. The FTC also noted that Meta already owns Beat Games, maker of the popular VR game Beat Saber. It similarly alleged that owning both studios would impact competitive innovation.
In a statement, Meta rejected the Commission’s claims and suggested that the acquisition would “inject new investment into the VR fitness space,”. Plus it denied that Supernatural and Beat Saber are similar experiences. The firm did not specifically comment on the FTC’s accusation regarding its plans for the metaverse.
The metaverse is a future evolution of the internet. In which users will interact across overlapping 3D spaces using avatars in entirely free space. Meta is pushing hard in the space. Although it’s still unclear whether the firm will use Web3 technology like NFTs and cryptocurrency. Prominent builders in the crypto space have warned of Meta’s plans to develop what they believe will be a centralized walled garden. Rather than an interoperable metaverse that spans numerous platforms.
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