US government brings anti-trust action against Facebook

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Us Government Brings Anti-Trust Action Against Facebook
Facebook coronavirus misinformation, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Marcy Gordon, Associated Press

Federal regulators have asked for Facebook to be ordered to divest its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services as the US government and 48 states and districts accused the company of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors.

The anti-trust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“It’s really critically important that we block this predatory acquisition of companies and that we restore confidence to the market,” Ms James said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.


New York State Attorney General Letitia James (Kathy Willens/AP)

In its lawsuit, the FTC is seeking the separation of the services from Facebook, saying Facebook has engaged in a “a systematic strategy” to eliminate its competition, including by purchasing smaller up-and-coming rivals like Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

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Ms James echoed that in her press conference, saying Facebook “used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users”.

Facebook is the world’s biggest social network with 2.7 billion users and a company with a market value of nearly 800 billion US dollars whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth-richest individual and the most public face of Big Tech.

Facebook did not have immediate comment.

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