photo of a man using the Oculus VR gaming system

Anna Zheludkova/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Max Fleishman

Facebook’s VR unit is reportedly being investigated by the FTC

The scrutiny over Oculus comes as the FTC has already set its sights on Facebook.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Posted on Jan 17, 2022   Updated on Jan 17, 2022, 11:43 am CST

The virtual reality (VR) division of Meta, the new parent company of Facebook, is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several states, according to a new report.

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The Oculus unit, which covers VR, is being investigated for alleged anti-competitive practices, Bloomberg reports, citing sources. The group of states also investigating the company is being led by New York, and they began reaching out to developers last year.

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Specifically, they are looking into whether Meta is using its market power in VR to stifle competition and if the Oculus app store is discriminating against third-party developers that compete against the company’s own software, according to Bloomberg.

The scrutiny over Oculus comes as the FTC has already set its sights on Facebook.

Just last week, a judge ruled that its antitrust suit against the social media giant could go forward. The suit, which was originally filed in 2020, has had numerous starts-and-stops in recent months.

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Initially, the FTC’s lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, leaving the door open for the agency to amend it. In August, the FTC refiled the suit and Facebook attempted to have it dismissed. Last week, a judge rejected Facebook’s request.

The suit alleges that Facebook is a monopoly and looks into the company’s purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram.

Throughout all of this, Facebook has attempted to have FTC Chair Lina Khan, a critic of big tech who has support from progressives, recuse herself from the suit. Lawmakers have said the company’s push was an attempt to “bully” its regulators.

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Last week, a judge poured cold water over the company’s request, saying Khan’s behavior “does not necessitate recusal.”

You can read all of the Bloomberg report here.


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*First Published: Jan 17, 2022, 11:00 am CST