Should Instagram be broken off from Facebook? That’s the question House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler posed to Mark Zuckerberg.
While Instagram is currently a giant platform with more than one billion monthly users, Zuckerberg noted that it was far from that when Facebook bought the startup for $1 billion in 2012.
It was not a guarantee that Instagram was going to succeed,” Zuckerberg said.
“In hindsight, it looks obvious that Instagram reached the scale it has. At the time, it was far from obvious,” he told the committee.
Zuckerberg pointed out that at the time of the Instagram acquisition, the Federal Trade Commission voted not to challenge the deal, implying that there was no anticompetitive concern. But today’s FTC is actively reviewing the last decade of tech acquisitions, and it could easily arrive at a different conclusion based on the way history played out.
Just because regulators did not perceive a competitive issue at the outset does not rule out future antitrust enforcement.