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UPDATE 2-FTC probes Facebook's acquisition practices -WSJ

(Adds detail on U.S. antitrust tech probe, Facebook share price, PIX available)

Aug 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Facebook Inc acquisitions were aimed at buying up potential rivals before they could become a threat to the social media company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company's acquisition practices are the main focus of the probe, as the FTC looks into Facebook buying technology-based startup's to keep them from challenging it, the report https://www.wsj.com/articles/ftc-antitrust-probe-of-facebook-scrutinizes-its-acq u i s i t i o n s - 1 1 5 6 4 6 8 3 9 6 5 ? m o d = s e a r c h r e s u l t s & p a g e = 1 & p o s = 1 said.

Facebook last week said the FTC had opened an antitrust investigation in June looking into the areas of "social networking or social media services, digital advertising, and/or mobile or online applications."

Facebook shares were down 0.7%.

Both FTC and Facebook declined to comment on the report.

Last month, the company settled an FTC probe into allegations of inappropriately sharing data of 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. It will pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine.

The U.S. Justice Department said in late July it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms, looking into whether they engage in anticompetitive practices, a clear signal that the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of the industry.

In June, Reuters reported that the FTC and the Department of Justice, which enforce U.S. antitrust laws, have divided oversight over the big four tech companies, with Amazon.com Inc and Facebook under the watch of the FTC, and Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google under the Justice Department. (Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Bill Berkrot)