For years, critics have argued that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was a missed opportunity to rein in the company. But now, they’ll have the chance to actually undo it. On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Trade Commission joined with 48 state attorneys general to call for a court-ordered divestiture of Instagram and WhatsApp — essentially, forcing Facebook to undo both acquisitions and spin them back into independent companies.
Regulators are still a long way from making that happen, but for the first time, it’s a possibility that Facebook can’t ignore. And for Instagram users, it raises a question that’s both alarming and tantalizing: what would Instagram look like without Facebook?