Both federal regulators and state attorneys filed lawsuits against Facebook for breaking antitrust laws on Wednesday. The government is aiming to breakup the social media giant because Facebook’s “dominance deprives consumers of pro-privacy choices.”
The numerous lawsuits filed on behalf of 46 U.S. states, Guam and the District of Columbia were welcomed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG).
“U.S. PIRG welcomes the Facebook lawsuits by 48 state and territorial attorneys general and federal regulators,” Ed Mierzwinski, senior director for federal consumer programs of U.S. PIRG, said. “It’s time that the courts put an end to BigTech’s specious claim that its products are ‘free,’ so ‘consumer welfare’ is not infringed upon and the antitrust laws don’t apply.”
According to a press release, the lawsuits “accused Facebook of illegally buying up smaller competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram, breaking antitrust laws and preventing fair market competition” by opening the site to third-party app developers, but quickly cutting ties if they’re seen as a threat.
“Actually, consumers pay with our data, through a Big Tech business model of constant corporate surveillance and manipulation,” Mierzwinski said. “We look forward to the lawsuit unwinding the alleged predatory acquisition of companies that could have been innovative competitors, offering pro-privacy choices in the marketplace.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James leads the states’ lawsuits.
“It’s really critically important that we block this predatory acquisition of companies and that we restore confidence to the market,” James said.
Facebook is the largest social network in the world and Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, is the world’s fifth-richest person.
“[Facebook] used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” James said.