North Carolina among 48 states suing Facebook for ‘predatory’ conduct
NORTH CAROLINA (AP) — Federal regulators on Wednesday sued to force a breakup of Facebook as 48 states, including North Carolina, and districts accused the company in a separate suit of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors.
The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“Facebook is a prime example of what happens when a company gets too big and too powerful – people suffer,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein wrote in a release. “For years, Facebook has used its monopoly power as a social networking website to stifle competition and innovation and to sell alarming amounts of user data to make money, all at the expense of the many people who use its platform. North Carolinians deserve better – they deserve choice and they deserve better privacy. That’s why I’m suing Facebook and why I’ll do everything in my power to protect competition and consumers.”
Facebook is the world’s biggest social network with 2.7 billion users and a company with a market value of nearly $800 billion whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth-richest individual and the most public face of Big Tech swagger.
Facebook said the government plan was unfair and would punish a successful business.
Facebook released the following statement in response to the suit:
“This is revisionist history. Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers and promote innovation, not to punish successful businesses. 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. People and small businesses don’t choose to use Facebook’s free services and advertising because they have to, they use them because our apps and services deliver the most value. We are going to vigorously defend people’s ability to continue making that choice.” – Jennifer Newstead, Vice President and General Counsel, Facebook