Mark Zuckerberg to testify in FTC court case against Meta's virtual reality acquisition

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify in the Federal Trade Commission’s case seeking to block the tech titan from acquiring virtual reality company Within Unlimited, escalating the government’s feud with Facebook’s parent business over control of the metaverse.

Mr. Zuckerberg is one of more than a dozen Meta officials that FTC plans to question live or over video, according to paperwork filed by the FTC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday.

As Facebook reorganized under Meta last year to pursue its augmented and virtual reality business, it sought to acquire Within Unlimited, which makes the virtual reality fitness app Supernatural.

The FTC sought to block the acquisition in federal court earlier this year and accused Meta of having a virtual reality empire that was attempting to illegally acquire Within.

The FTC told the court on Friday it planned to ask Mr. Zuckerberg about the acquisition as well as about a range of other topics, including “industry dynamics, strategies, and features related to VR or metaverse platforms, hardware, and/or content.”

Meta also named Mr. Zuckerberg as a witness for its defense in its paperwork filed with the court.

Meta has strenuously argued that the FTC case is baseless.

“The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence,” said Meta Vice President Nikhil Shanbhag in a company blog post in July. “The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible.”
A date for Mr. Zuckerberg’s anticipated testimony has not yet been set.

The case against Meta’s business is proceeding as its financial situation has worsened. Meta reported a second consecutive quarter of declining revenue last week, a setback analysts attribute to diminished advertising sales and growing competition from the video-based platform TikTok.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s personal net worth fell by more than $11 billion last week after the poor financial report, according to the Wall Street Journal. His wealth has dropped more than $87 billion total this year, leaving him with a current net worth estimated to be $37.7 billion.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

This article is based in part on wire-service reports.


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