Facebook Says Government Breakup of Instagram, WhatsApp Would Be ‘Complete Nonstarter’

A government effort to break up

Facebook Inc.


FB -2.51%

from Instagram and WhatsApp would defy established law, cost billions of dollars and harm consumers, according to a paper company lawyers have prepared in the wake of rising antitrust legal threats.

The 14-page document, produced by lawyers at Sidley Austin LLP and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, offers a preview of the social-media giant’s defense as federal antitrust enforcers and members of Congress continue to pursue investigations into Facebook’s power and past competitive behavior. Probes of other technology companies such as

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google,

Amazon.com Inc.

and

Apple Inc.

are also ongoing.

The House Antitrust Subcommittee this month is expected to release the findings of its investigation into Facebook and other companies.

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The legal document, while light on legal citations and technical language, offers a window into how Facebook may defend itself if it is

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