Zuckerberg to tell Congress that Instagram, WhatsApp needed Facebook to succeed

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg plans to tell Congress Wednesday in a highly anticipated antitrust hearing that Instagram and WhatsApp, both owned by the company, would not have been able to succeed without his company’s resources, according to a report in CNBC.

“Facebook has made Instagram and WhatsApp successful as part of our family of apps,” Zuckerberg said in a prepared statement — which was first obtained by The New York Times.

Zuckerberg will join three other tech executives — Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and Apple’s Tim Cook — to appear before the House Judiciary Commitee’s Antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday. The group will defend themselves against claims that their companies may have monopolized the industry to skirt competitors and gain dominance.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, an investment that has clearly paid off — the photo-and-video sharing app reportedly took in over $6 billion in revenue in 2018. Facebook’s other successful acquisition, WhatsApp, is one of the biggest messaging apps in the world.

Zuckerberg Testimony Congress
Mark Zuckerberg appears before Congress on April 10, 2018. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Zuckerberg plans to make a case for these two acquisitions Wednesday in front of legislators.

“Instagram and WhatsApp have been able to grow and operate their services using Facebook’s bespoke, lower-cost infrastructure and tackle spam and harmful content with Facebook’s integrity teams and technology,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.

He also plans to argue that Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp allowed the messaging app to remain free, and allowed Instagram to remove spam and expand on its infrastructure.

“These benefits came about as a result of our acquisition of those companies, and would not have happened had we not made those acquisitions,” the testimony reads. “The end result is better services that provide more value to people and advertisers, which is a core goal of Facebook’s acquisition strategy.”

Facebook, along with Apple, Amazon, and Google, have grown to epic sizes within the last decade, raking in billions of dollars along the way, with the help of little oversight by the government. It wasn’t until last summer when the House Judiciary Committee launched an investigation of anticompetitive conduct in the tech space after calls from both sides of the political aisle that Big Tech should be regulated. Wednesday’s hearing will be the first opportunity legislators will have to hear from tech CEOs themselves — as pressure from critics and skeptics mount.

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