FTC announces anti-trust lawsuit against Facebook for ‘Illegal Monopolization’

The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday, December 9th, that the agency has sued Facebook for ‘illegal monopolization’ and “challenges Facebook’s multi-year course of unlawful conduct”.

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In a press release from the Federal Trade Commission, the agency announced that it had sued Facebook today “alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.”

In an investigation that included attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, they allege that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, WhatsApp, and “the imposition of anticompetitive conditions on software developers” was a systemic strategy “to eliminate threats to its monopoly”. 

Adding that “This course of conduct harms competition, leaves consumers with few choices for personal social networking, and deprives advertisers of the benefits of competition.”

“The complaint alleges that Facebook initially tried to compete with Instagram on the merits by improving its own offerings, but Facebook ultimately chose to buy Instagram rather than compete with it.”

The agency is seeking a permanency injunction in federal court to require Facebook to divest assets “including Instagram and WhatsApp” and “prohibit Facebook from imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers; and require Facebook to seek prior notice and approval for future mergers and acquisitions.”

The Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition Ian Conner said of that lawsuit that “Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,”.

Conner added, “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

Read the entire statement from the FTC here.

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