Regulators are accusing the company of buying up emerging competitors in order to consolidate its dominance over social media.
WASHINGTON – The Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states on Wednesday accused Facebook of becoming a social media monopoly by buying up their rivals to illegally suppress competition, saying the deals are making the social Network turned into a giant should be liquidated.
Federal and state regulators, who have been investigating the company for over 18 months, said in separate lawsuits that the purchases of Facebook, specifically Instagram for $ 1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $ 19 billion two Years later, eliminating the competition that might have a day challenged the company’s dominance.
Since those deals, Instagram and WhatsApp have grown in popularity, giving Facebook control over three of the world’s most popular social media and messaging apps. The apps helped catapult Facebook from a company founded 16 years ago in a dormitory to an Internet powerhouse worth more than $ 800 billion.
Prosecutors asked Facebook to cancel Instagram and WhatsApp and set new restrictions on future business.
« For nearly a decade, Facebook has been using its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and eliminate competition, all at the expense of everyday users, » said New York attorney general Letitia James, who led the company’s investigation in several states parallel to the federal authority.
The lawsuits filed in the U. S.. . The District of Columbia District Court highlights the growing non-partisan and international tsunami against big tech. Lawmakers and regulators have focused on the impact Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple are having on commerce, electronics, social networking, search, and online advertising to reshape the country’s economy. President Trump has repeatedly argued that the tech giants have too much power and influence and are allies of President-elect Joseph R.. . Biden Jr. . make similar complaints.
Two months ago, the investigation led to the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google, accusing the search giant of illegally protecting a monopoly. At least one more lawsuit from Republican and Democratic officials against Google is expected by the end of the year. In Europe, regulators are proposing tougher laws against industry and have fined billions of dollars for competition law violations.
The lawsuits against Facebook are expected to spark a lengthy legal battle. The company has long denied any illegal anti-competitive behavior and is expected to use its deep source of funds to defend itself. Few major cartel cases have focused on mergers that were approved years earlier. The F. . T. . C.. . signed Facebook offers for Instagram and WhatsApp during the Obama administration.
If prosecutors succeed, the cases could reshape the company, which has seen unbridled growth. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has described the liquidation of the company as an « existential » threat.
The case is also widely viewed as a benchmark for future mergers within the technology industry that continued to boom during the pandemic. Last month, Facebook announced it had bought Kustomer, a customer relationship management start-up, for just under $ 1 billion.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but it has argued in the past that the social media market has remained competitive. The rapid growth of TikTok, the Chinese short video sharing app, and the new growth of Parler, a social media company popular with conservatives, show Facebook has no lock on social networks, the company said.
Facebook, United States Antitrust, Federal Trade Commission
World News – USA – U. . S.. . and states say Facebook is illegally crushed competition