Federal Trade Commission and 48 Attorneys General File to Break Up Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of 48 attorneys general filed separate lawsuits against Facebook on Dec. 9 to break up the “monopoly power” of the social media conglomerate.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of 48 attorneys general filed separate lawsuits against Facebook on Dec. 9 to break up the “monopoly power” of the social media conglomerate.

Both lawsuits accuse Facebook of its anti-competitive practices and asks a court to order Facebook to break off from its assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp, which it acquired years ago from separate deals worth billions.

In the lawsuit filed in a federal court in the District of Columbia, FTC said that Facebook buys companies it perceives as threats and imposes “restrictive policies” to maintain its “monopoly position.”

“Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anti-competitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Ian Conner said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a news conference that the lawsuit is a stand for consumers and small business that “have been harmed by Facebook’s illegal behavior.”

Facebook said it was reviewing the lawsuits and noted that the FTC approved Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and of WhatsApp in 2014.

“Years after the FTC cleared our acquisitions, the government now wants a do-over with no regard for the impact that precedent would have on the broader business community or the people who choose our products every day,” Facebook stated in a tweet.

Facebook’s Vice President and General Counsel Jennifer Newstead called lawsuits “revisionist history” in a statement and said, “We have operated and continue to operate in a highly competitive space. Our acquisitions have been good for competition, good for advertisers and good for people.”


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