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FTC Pulls From Old Playbook, Signals Newly Aggressive Approach to Tech

By  |  March 1, 2019 1:00 PM PST

The Federal Trade Commission turned heads this week when it announced a new task force to review competition in the tech industry, including taking a fresh look at mergers that have already happened.

In doing so, the agency was pulling from a playbook it used successfully in the early 2000s when it created a task force that reviewed, and in some cases modified, previously approved deals in the hospital industry that were later found to have hurt consumers. It also better prepared the FTC to challenge new deals. But some observers are skeptical the new group will give the FTC the muscle it needs to unwind tech industry mergers, such as Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram, that advocates say are hurting consumers.

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