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F.T.C. Decision on Pursuing Facebook Antitrust Case Is Said to Be Near

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission is moving closer to a decision about filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking, according to two people with knowledge of the agency’s talks.

The five members of the F.T.C. met on Thursday to discuss its investigation into Facebook and whether the company had bought smaller rivals to maintain a monopoly, the people said. The agency has prepared three documents about Facebook — one on its potential antitrust violations, another analyzing the company’s economics, and a third assessing the risks of litigation — which have been circulated among F.T.C. leaders, the people said.

No decision has been made on a case, they said. The F.T.C. commissioners must vote before any case is pursued.

Lawmakers and policymakers in Washington have been ramping up antitrust actions against the largest technology companies, often in a bipartisan effort. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google accusing it of illegally maintaining its monopoly power in search and search advertising, the first such legal action against a tech company in two decades. Two weeks ago, the House Judiciary Committee also recommended taking action to break up the big tech platforms, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

Facebook and the F.T.C. declined to comment. The Washington Post earlier reported that the F.T.C. met on the Facebook investigation on Thursday.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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