Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify in a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit that claims the company’s proposed deal to buy virtual reality (VR) content maker Within Unlimited should be blocked.

In a court document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, the FTC listed 18 witnesses it plans to question, including Zuckerberg, Within CEO Chris Milk and Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth.

They were also on a witness list presented on Friday by defendants Meta and Winn.

In addition to defending the Within acquisition, Zuckerberg is expected to be questioned about parent Facebook’s strategy for its VR business, as well as the company’s plans to support third-party developers, according to the court filing.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit in July, saying Meta’s acquisition of Within would “tend to create a monopoly” in the market for VR-focused fitness apps.

The regulator argued that the proposed deal would “significantly lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly” in that market.

Meta, in court filings, argued that the FTC’s “persuasive, speculative and contradictory allegations do not credibly state any facts to establish that any purported market for VR Deliberate Fitness apps is ‘oligopolistic’ in conduct or structure.’

Facebook agreed to buy Within in October 2021 for an undisclosed amount.

The Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has broadly taken aim at Meta’s acquisitions of VR companies in recent years, accusing the company of embarking on a “VR takeover campaign” dating back to 2014, when it acquired the manufacturer on Oculus VR headsets.

IN press release afterward, FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman said, “Instead of competing on merit, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top. Meta already owns the best-selling virtual reality fitness app and had the ability to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Metta chose to buy market position rather than earn it on merit. This is an illegal acquisition and we will seek all appropriate relief.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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