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World

An antitrust lawsuit in US calls for the breakup of Facebook

  • FTC alleges that the social network used monopoly power with the intention of suppressing and deterring serious competitive threats
  • Facebook says the US government wants a do-over with no regard for the impact that precedent would have on the broader business community
10 Dec 2020

(Karachi) The United States has announced a new antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, pressing it to sell its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services, NBC News reported.

The move by US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) aims to break up Facebook's dominance, alleging that the social network has used monopoly power with the intention of suppressing, neutralizing and deterring serious competitive threats.

At least 48 states and districts accused the company of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors. Facebook took over Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

Both suits allege that Facebook has engaged in illegal patterns of behavior, which the states and federal investigators worked together to characterize. But the state lawsuit is concerned with violations at the state law level, while the FTC alleges violation of federal law. Therefore the two lawsuits, while objecting to the same actions by Facebook, will be pursued and adjudicated separately.

The FTC said that it would press the the courts to compel Facebook to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp and bar it from engaging in further anti-competitive practices.

Commenting on the matter, FTC’s Bureau of Competition Director Ian Conner said: “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition.”

He added, “Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

Meanwhile, Facebook said it is reviewing the two lawsuits. “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.

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