“the US Federal Trade Commission and 48 US state attorneys general filed major lawsuits against Facebook that argue the social media giant is a monopoly whose anti-competitive practices harm Americans.
The two lawsuits, which follow more than a year of investigations, are the biggest antitrust challenge Facebook has faced. They both essentially call for Facebook to be broken up by forcing it to undo its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, which together have billions of users.
The lawsuits allege that such action may be necessary because Facebook has crushed its competitors and achieved dominance by buying potential rivals, and that this limits American consumers’ choices and reduces their access to privacy protections.
“They stifled innovation, and they degraded privacy protections for millions of Americans,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, who led the states’ lawsuit (which includes 46 states plus Washington, DC, and Guam), told reporters on Wednesday. “No company should have this much unchecked power over our personal information and our social interactions.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a blog post published by the company on Wednesday called the lawsuits “revisionist history.” The company emphasized that its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram were approved by the FTC years ago, and said allowing a “do-over” would raise a concerning precedent that “no sale will ever be final.””