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Facebook Hit with Huge Lawsuits from Federal Government, Dozens of States

Facebook was slapped with parallel antitrust lawsuits Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission and justice departments from 48 states.

CNN Business reported both the FTC and 48 attorneys general sued the social networking giant over the acquisitions of the Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.

In both lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege the company engaged in conduct that squashed competition and made it impossible for competing tech startups to compete with Facebook’s marketplace dominance.

The FTC complaint seeks to break up Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s tech empire by forcing it to divest itself of both popular apps, the report said.

It also would require the company to seek permission prior to any future acquisitions.

“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement, according to CNN.

“Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive,” Conner said.

He explained more about the accusations against Facebook in a video posted to Twitter from the FTC account.

Republican Story reported the lawsuit from the states was spearheaded by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who first announced an investigation into Facebook last fall. James has been joined by dozens of other attorneys general from across the country.

The New York AG accused Facebook of using its financial war chest and overall dominance to “crush” smaller tech startups.

James, a Democrat, said that practice has continued unabated for years.

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition,” she said during a news conference Wednesday

“By using its vast troves of data and money, Facebook has squashed or hindered what the company perceived to be potential threats,” James said.

She expounded on her complaints in a series of tweets.


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“I’m leading a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general in a lawsuit against @Facebook to end its illegal monopoly,” James said. “We are taking action to stand up for the millions of consumers and many small businesses that have been harmed by Facebook’s illegal behavior.”

“Facebook has used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” she added. “Instead of improving its own product, Facebook took advantage of consumers and made billions of dollars converting their personal data into a cash cow.”

“Today’s suit should send a clear message to Facebook and every other company: Efforts to stifle competition, reduce innovation, or cut privacy protections will be met with the full force of almost every attorney general’s office in the nation,” James concluded.

The state and federal lawsuits against Facebook come as the tech giant and others have come under increasing bipartisan scrutiny in recent months from lawmakers. While Republicans have criticized Big Tech for silencing conservative voices, Democrats have accused tech giants of allowing misinformation to spread across their platforms.

Facebook was sued in federal court just last week by the Justice Department, which alleged the company has discriminated against American workers by awarding some jobs almost exclusively to foreign visa workers.

 

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