US Government Files Antitrust Lawsuits Against Facebook, Says it Needs to Sell Instagram And WhatsApp
Antitrust lawsuits filed on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 46 states and two territories have accused Facebook of using “unlawful scheme” and illegal monopoly power to crush smaller rivals, degrade privacy and stifle competition.
In a press conference, New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users”.
“By using its vast troves of data and money, Facebook has squashed or hindered what the company perceived as potential threats,” she added.
The “unlawful scheme” has left consumers with fewer choices and “degraded privacy protections for millions of Americans.”
According to this long-anticipated suit, the social networking giant has misused its dominance and abused its power to either acquire or kill the competitors and punish the rivals who didn’t want to be acquired. The lawsuit even cites Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.
The lawsuit asked the court to permanently block Facebook from any new acquisitions and potentially force it to divest Instagram, WhatsApp and its other major assets.
Releasing a statement, Jennifer Newstead, Facebook’s vice president and general counsel said, “Instagram and WhatsApp became the incredible products they are today because Facebook invested billions of dollars, and years of innovation and expertise, to develop new features and better experiences for the millions who enjoy those products. The most important fact in this case, which the Commission does not mention in its 53-page complaint, is that it cleared these acquisitions years ago. The government now wants a do-over, sending a chilling warning to American business that no sale is ever final”.
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