Facebook (FB) shares drop on concerns over possible antitrust investigation

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Facebook under investigation by New York Attorney General for Collecting Users' Contact Lists Without Consent

The stock price of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) declined due to concerns that U.S. regulators are likely to open antitrust investigations into the social media company and other tech giants.

FB shares were down 7.51 percent to $164.15 a piece on Monday, reducing the social media giant’s market capitalization by $38 billion to $468.5 billion.

FTC reportedly to oversee any antitrust probe into Facebook

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached an agreement on a strategy to handle anti-competitive concerns involving technology companies.

The Department and the Commission share authority when it comes to enforcing the antitrust law.

According to the media outlet, the DOJ and the FTC agreed to divide regulatory oversight of two of the Big Four tech companies. Under the agreement, the FTC will supervise any antitrust investigation into Facebook while the DOJ on Google.

FTC is currently examining the social media giant’s privacy practices

Currently, the FTC is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices in connection with Cambridge Analytica data scandal last year. The bankrupt political consulting firm gained access and possibly misused the personal information of millions of users during the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

In March last year, the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Acting Director Tom Pahl said the Commission will use all of is tools to protect consumers’ privacy.

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they are expecting the FTC to impose a monetary penalty of up to $5 billion related to the Commission’s scrutiny of its privacy practices.

Investors are concerned that the FTC will also open an antitrust investigation into Facebook since lawmakers are increasing calling for tighter regulatory oversight of big tech companies.

Several lawmakers particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, is calling for the break-up of tech giants including Amazon, Facebook and Google. According to her, it’s time to break up these companies because they have “too much power” over our democracy, economy and society.