U.S. federal and state antitrust enforcement have filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the social media giant abused its dominance by acquiring messaging services such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
Special suits submitted by the Federal Trade Commission and a consortium of state officials called for the exclusion of Instagram and WhatsApp.
The services have millions of users and are part of the Facebook “Family” app.
“Facebook’s move to retain and retain its monopoly denies consumers the benefits of competition,” said Ian Connor, FTC’s Bureau of Competition Director.
“Our goal is to restore the competition by reversing Facebook’s preconceived notions, thereby enhancing innovation and free competition.”
State Antitrust enforcement agencies from 48 U.S. states and territories have taken special legal action.
“For over a decade, Facebook has been using its dominance and monopoly power to crush and eliminate small rivals, all at the expense of everyday users,” said Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, who led the alliance.
“As Facebook uses its power to suppress competition, it will take advantage of users and turn personal data into a cow and make billions.”
Suites allege that Facebook tried to block the competition by acquiring messaging apps – Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.
The move is a tough court battle that seeks to persuade Facebook to divert applications that have become a growing key component of the California giant’s business model and integrated with its technology.
Facebook said it would provide a detailed response after reviewing the cases, but added: “Years after the FTC wiped out our acquisitions, the government now wants a dove over, regardless of the impact it has on the wider business community or people. They choose our products every day. “
This case involves not only the role of Facebook in social media users, but also a large part of the data collected from the nearly three billion users worldwide.
“Facebook spends a lot of time monitoring and profiting from users’ personal information,” she said.
“An individual should not have unchecked power over our personal information and our social interactions.”
The FTC announced earlier this year that it would review acquisitions made by five big tech firms over the past decade, paving the way for a wave of antitrust inquiries.
The Consumer Protection Agency said it has been reviewing deals between Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google Parent Alphabet since 2010 amid complaints about tech platforms dominating major economic sectors.
The U.S. Justice Department, which shares antitrust enforcement with the FTC, filed a lawsuit against Google Parent Alphabet in October.
In an online search and ad, it accused the Silicon Valley giant of maintaining an “illegal monopoly” and opening the door to collapse.
Eleven U.S. states joined the case.
As more and more people turn to Internet platforms for goods and services, scrutiny is on the rise for large technology companies that have expanded their dominance in recent times, including the global pandemic era.