Facebook drops 4% on report the FTC might block its plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and other apps

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

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Shares of Facebook fell as much as 4% in intraday trading Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering an injunction against the company.

If obtained, the court order could block Facebook's plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, according to the report.
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The news comes after months of scrutiny over the plan, which Facebook first considered in January, according to the report. Facebook has since said that its plans to merge certain platforms are to make them better for users, not to eliminate competition or steer clear of regulations.

Still, the plan is a problem because FTC officials worry that further meshing the products would make it more difficult to split up Facebook in an antitrust case, the Journal reported. Facebook declined to comment on the Journal's report.

It's not the first time that news of an investigation or pending legal action has weighed on Facebook's shares. The FTC, the Justice Department, and District Attorneys from a number of states are currently investigating Facebook and Google for antitrust violations.
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But not every negative headline has dragged Facebook stock down. When the company was fined $5 billion in July for its handling of user data in the Cambridge Analytica breach, shares climbed. Some Wall Street analysts predict that Facebook's stock will continue to shake off such news and climb as much as 17% in the next year.

Facebook was up roughly 54% year to date through Wednesday's close.
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