Home U.S Facebook expecting state and federal antitrust lawsuits next month

Facebook expecting state and federal antitrust lawsuits next month


State and federal investigators ‘are preparing to file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook next month for swallowing up Instagram and Whatsapp’

  • Facebook may be hit with antitrust lawsuits as soon next month as a result of state and federal probes, sources told the Washington Post 
  • The lawsuits will likely challenge the social media giant’s ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp
  • The sources say the investigations are now entering final stages 
  • It looks at how Instagram and Whatsapp have changed since Facebook bought them in 2012 and 2014 
  • Probes looked at whether Facebook has left consumers with worse services and less privacy protections than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought 

Facebook may be hit with antitrust lawsuits as soon next month as a result of state and federal probes that challenge the social media giant’s ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The separate state and federal lawsuits will likely accuse Facebook of creating an anti-competitive social media giant by buying up its competitors, three sources familiar with the investigations told the Washington Post on Thursday.

The lawsuits, which are still underway pending the results of state and federal investigations, will also likely allege that Facebook has left consumers with fewer social media choices after purchasing the other companies. 

The sources say the investigations are now entering the final stages and have looked at how Instagram and Whatsapp have changed since Facebook bought them in 2012 and 2014, respectively. 

Facebook may be hit with antitrust lawsuits as soon next month as a result of state and federal probes that challenge the social media giant's ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is pictured testifying before a House Judiciary Subcommittee earlier this year

Facebook may be hit with antitrust lawsuits as soon next month as a result of state and federal probes that challenge the social media giant’s ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is pictured testifying before a House Judiciary Subcommittee earlier this year

In particular, investigators are looking at whether Facebook has left consumers with worse services and fewer privacy protections than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought and remained independent. 

The separate investigations have not yet been finalized and do not just examine Facebook’s ownership of Instagram and Whatsapp, the sources said. 

They did say that the pending lawsuit from the states would likely be filed early next month. 

State attorneys general launched the probe last year headed by New York’s Letitia James.

Almost 40 states are planning to be involved in the lawsuit. 

The Federal Trade Commission, which is leading a separate probe into Facebook, recently spoke with state investigators about their case, sources said. 

The commission approved Facebook’s purchases of both Instagram and Whatsapp. 

The sources say the investigations are now entering final stages and have looked at how Instagram and Whatsapp have changed since Facebook bought them in 2012 and 2014

The sources say the investigations are now entering final stages and have looked at how Instagram and Whatsapp have changed since Facebook bought them in 2012 and 2014

In particular, investigators are looking at whether Facebook has left consumers with worse services and fewer privacy protections than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought and remained independent

In particular, investigators are looking at whether Facebook has left consumers with worse services and fewer privacy protections than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought and remained independent

The antitrust allegations against Facebook that will likely be included in the lawsuits are not new. 

Lawmakers have repeatedly brought up the claims in recent congressional hearings and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by lawmakers during a hearing back in July.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have repeatedly denied antitrust claims. 

As recently as Tuesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar brought up Facebook and its ownership of the two other social media companies during a censorship hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee involving Zuckerberg. 

Klobuchar brought up emails the Facebook founder sent prior to buying Instagram in 2014 in which he referred to the app as a competitor. 

‘At the time, I don’t think we or anyone else viewed Instagram as a competitor — as a large, multi-purpose social platform,’ Zuckerberg said. 

‘In fact, at the time, people at the time kind of mocked our acquisition because they thought that we dramatically spent more than we should have on something that was… primarily a photo and camera-sharing app.’ 

Zuckerberg has previously noted that the popularity of TikTok is proof there is a competition social media market.      

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