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Facebook has gone from tech darling to Darth Vader

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Good Morning.

Give Facebook Recognition. They managed to do what no one else could do – bring Republican and Democratic politicians together. The Federal Trade Commission and 46 states yesterday sued for a separation of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsAppand an amazing bipartisan chorus of political voices called in support for the move. This case is possibly the only smooth handover that has come from the Trump administration to the Biden administration.

And let’s be clear: the case is hardly a slam dunk. Facebook quickly put forward the strongest argument against it, namely: The agency approved both acquisitions in 2012 and 2014. Have the facts changed? If it was okay then, why not now?

What has changed, of course, is the political environment. Facebook itself has evolved from a tech darling to Darth Vader – accused by Republicans and Democrats alike of destroying democracy. In its efforts to fix the problem, the company has only further angered Republicans – who believe the Left Coast company has it for them. However, a democratic government could prove to be an even bigger existential threat as Democrats have been flirting with a new, more expansive approach to antitrust policy for several years. You now have your test case.

If that succeeds, the case will be the biggest antitrust deal since the breakup AT & T.. Even if it fails, it’ll be a hell of a show. I supervised that Wall Street JournalCoverage of the Microsoft Antitrust law in the 1990s and can vouch for the fireworks that arise when so much money and corporate power are at stake. Many lawyers and lobbyists will earn their retirement with it.

More news below. Also, check out our coverage of the other big event of the day – the DoorDash IPO with no profit jumped 85% after starting trading on a reported valuation of approximately $ 72 billion. (The jump in price has, of course, been portrayed as a good thing rather than a price mistake by investment bankers.) Tomorrow, Airbnb is undoubtedly hoping for a similar nuisance with a price tag of $ 68 on a valuation of $ 47 billion. Who knew so much money could be made amid a global pandemic.

Alan Murray
@ Alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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