The Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general on Wednesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, which, if successful, could lead to the first court-ordered dissolution of a U.S. company in a decade.
The lawsuit claims that Facebook engaged in anti-competitive practices and tried to block or take control of its rivals to monopolize its social media network. In particular, the lawsuit aims to end Facebook’s control over WhatsApp and Instagram.
“Facebook recognizes that its continued ownership and operation of Instagram and WhatsApp … neutralizes their direct competitive threats,” FTC trial States. “Facebook continues to monitor the industry for competitive threats and would likely seek to acquire businesses that are or could be repositioned to pose threats to its personal social networking monopoly.”
The FTC requests “the transfer of [Facebook] assets, the divestiture or reconstruction of businesses (including, but not limited to Instagram and / or WhatsApp), and any other remedy sufficient to restore the competition that would exist in the absence of the behavior alleged in the complaint. “
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that she would lead a group of 48 attorneys general in a separate lawsuit against Facebook, writing on Twitter that the company has an “illegal monopoly.”
Today’s suit should send a clear message to Facebook and all other businesses:
Efforts to stifle competition, curtail innovation, or reduce privacy protections will be greeted with full force from nearly every attorney general’s office across the country.
– NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) December 9, 2020
“Facebook has used its monopoly power to crush its smaller rivals and stifle competition, all to the detriment of everyday users. Instead of improving its own product, Facebook took advantage of consumers and made billions of dollars converting their personal data into a cash cow, ”James wrote. “Efforts to stifle competition, curtail innovation, or reduce privacy protections will be greeted with full force from nearly every attorney general’s office across the country.
The lawsuits come after the Justice Department filed an antitrust complaint against the Google search engine in October.