In a series of antitrust crackdowns on big tech companies, a group of U.S states suing Facebook might be the next big thing. According to a report by Reuters, a group of U.S states led by New York is investigating the social media giant, Facebook Inc, looking for antitrust violations. According to the report, the states are planning to file a lawsuit against the company next week.
More than 40 U.S states reportedly plan on signing the lawsuit. It is still unclear what the states would be suing Facebook for, but since the investigation is reportedly about antitrust violations, it could possibly entail Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could also file a related complaint with an administrative law judge or in district court, as they have been reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit against Facebook.
Facebook has been accused of anticompetitive behavior in the past. The company headed by Mark Zuckerberg, is alleged to have crushed competition by acquiring growing businesses that posed a threat to Facebook, and its biggest acquisitions, Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 are used as prime examples.
Zuckerberg, however, has denied these allegations. On the contrary, he says, it’s Facebook’s acquisition of those smaller companies that helped them grow and turn into what they are today. According to Zuckerberg, the companies that Facebook has acquired didn’t pose a threat to the social media giant at the time of their acquisition.
This year has seen several moves by authorities to keep the big tech companies form spiraling out of control. The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter have already testified before the congress twice in the last few months. The congressional hearings mostly centered around the social media platforms’ moderation practices, censorship and the debate around section 230.
The United Kingdom recently approved the plans to create a new antitrust regulatory unit called Digital Markets Unit, specifically for regulating the big tech companies. The unit will promote competitive behavior and will be granted powers to punish anti-competitive behavior by imposing financial penalties.
Since 2019, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department of U.S have had their eyes on the four big tech companies, looking for antitrust violations. The companies which have been under investigation are, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple.
The U.S Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in October, which the search giant called “deeply flawed“. If a lawsuit is filed against Facebook, it would be the second major lawsuit filed against a big tech company this year after Google’s lawsuit.