States Seek To Reign In Facebook
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Facebook is one of the most valuable companies in the world, but its dominance is the subject of major new antitrust actions. A pair of lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission, and by 46 states, District of Columbia, and the territory of Guam, allege that Facebook used its power illegally to drive out competition and buy out rivals. Phil Weiser, Colorado’s Democratic attorney general, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the suits, in the video “Facebook under fire as states seek to reign in the social media giant“, below:
U.S. antitrust officials and a coalition of a states sued Facebook Inc. for allegedly abusing its dominance to crush competition, the second time in less than two months the government has brought a monopoly case against an American technology giant. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general led by New York filed antitrust complaints against Facebook Wednesday, alleging conduct that thwarted competition from rivals in order to protect its monopoly. The FTC lawsuit seeks a court order unwinding Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The case represents the biggest regulatory attack against Facebook in the company’s history. If the FTC and the states are ultimately successful in proving Facebook violated antitrust laws, a judge could order the breakup of the company, including separating its main social media platform from Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebok shares fell as much as 3.7% on the news.
“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “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.” Facebook has squashed or hindered what the company saw as potential threats, said New York Attorney General Letitia James during an online press conference. Facebook used “vast amounts of money” to acquire companies that could potentially threaten it’s dominance, particularly Instagram and WhatsApp, she said. The effort was meant to “squeeze every bit of oxygen out of the room.”
Facebook became a prime target for President Donald Trump in the last two months of his administration. Last week, he threatened to veto the annual U.S. defense authorization bill unless Congress adds a rider to abolish the law that protects technology companies, including Facebook, from liability over most content posted by users. The demand followed months of attacks by Trump and other Republicans, who claim the technology platforms suppress conservative views. Facebook and its tech peers are facing a groundswell of bipartisan antagonism over their control of digital commerce and their ability to influence what users watch and read. The Facebook case comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s October complaint against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for allegedly abusing its monopoly in internet search by using exclusive distribution agreements with phone manufacturers and wireless carriers to lock out competitors from the market. Together, the Google and Facebook actions mark the most significant monopoly cases filed in the U.S. since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in 1998. It will be up to Biden’s Justice Department to carry the Google case forward, while the Facebook case will fall to whomever Biden picks as FTC chairman if Joe Simons, who was appointed by Trump, leaves the agency. The investigations into the companies began in the summer of 2019 after the FTC and the Justice Department agreed on a plan to divide up scrutiny of Facebook, Google, Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. A House report released in October following a 16-month investigation determined the four companies are abusing their market power as gatekeepers over the digital economy, in the video “48 States Sue Faceboook for Monopoly Abuse Over Instagram, WhatsApp Acquisitions“, below:
Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor and former special counsel for the Justice Department, joins CBSN’s Lana Zak to discuss the antitrust lawsuits brought against social media giant Facebook. He spoke about the difficulty of winning an antitrust case and what this could mean for the tech industry and future mergers, in the video “Former federal prosecutor reacts to antitrust lawsuit against Facebook“, below:
United States trade regulators have asked for Facebook to be forced to sell its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services, in the video “United States regulators sue Facebook to divest Instagram and WhatsApp, ABC News“, below:
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer speaks with Adam Shapiro about Facebook being sued by the FTC and 48 state attorneys general, in the video “48 states and FTC suing Facebook for alleged antitrust abuses:” below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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