The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of 48 states and territories filed lawsuits on Thursday accusing Facebook of anti-competitive conduct in its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.
Though the FTC and attorneys general from the 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam worked together to investigate the company. They filed two separate lawsuits in federal courts.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office described Facebook’s acquisitions as “predatory.”
The FTC said Facebook, for years, engaged in a systematic strategy to eliminate any threats to its monopoly in the social media industry. In addition to purchasing competing products, the federal agency accused Facebook of imposing anti-competitive conditions on software developers.
“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” said Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”
The company is asking the courts to force Facebook to divest itself of assets, which could include Instagram and WhatsApp; prevent the company from certain conditions on software developers; and require the company to seek approval before future mergers and acquisitions. SOVEREIGNPH