Facebook sued by FTC, 48 U.S. attorneys general alleging it operates an illegal monopoly

A group of 48 U.S. attorneys general led by New York filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook (FB) on Wednesday, alleging Facebook is violating antitrust law by buying up competitors in order to operate an illegal monopoly. Facebook is also accused of depriving consumers of alternatives that would be more protective of their privacy. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a separate suit alleging antitrust violations.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Alexis Keenan and Daniel Howley for Yahoo Finance:

At the heart of the allegations are claims that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, as well as other smaller technology companies, were carried out in order to quash competition. As part of its lawsuit, the FTC wants to force Facebook to sell both Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook is the largest social network in the world with 2.6 billion monthly active users across its four apps: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“No company should have this much unchecked power over our personal information and our social interactions and that’s why we are taking action today and standing up for the millions of consumers and millions of small businesses that have been hurt by Facebook’s illegal behavior,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Wednesday.

States argue the company’s past business maneuvers are legally problematic because they’ve swelled Facebook’s overall user base so significantly that the company holds anticompetitive sway over the e-commerce market.

The states are asking the court to find that Facebook has violated antitrust law by acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram and to bar it from buying any other companies worth more than $10 million without notifying the states first.

MacDailyNews Take: The Facebook monopoly is in trouble.

Facebook Like iconSometimes that shark, he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. Y’know the thing about a shark, he’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’… until he bites ya. And those black eyes roll over white, and then… oh, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screamin’, the ocean turns red, and spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces. – Sam Quint, Jaws

#DeleteFacebook

We haven’t had personal FaceBook accounts for many years now. And happily so.MacDailyNews, May 11, 2017

Beyond the privacy aspect, Facebook is Creepster Central. It’s a Narcissists’ Paradise. In general, yuck. — MacDailyNews, March 27, 2015

27 Comments

  1. UH OH HERE WE GO DROPPING THE HAMMER! First TikTok then Facebook. Of course… so like TikTok is still there, but when the deadline comes… oh wait, the deadline passed? They’re still there and nothing has changed?

    Huh. But STILL THOUGH it’s the… thought that counts?

  2. If Facebook is a monopoly, then so is Apple. Facebook is no more a monopoly McDonalds. People just like Facebook for whatever reason but you don’t have to use it, or any of its other services. You can go to LinkedIn for instance.

  3. When did this site start singing the praises of Letitia James? This is the SAME Letitia James that’s hounding the President and plans to continue doing so. 🙂

  4. Several years ago I deleted my account after I posted a NewsWeek cartoon of Obama…..they help up allowing it to go thru got three days, and then said it was cleared to post. I immediately said……I’m out of here and cancel my account.

    1. The problem isn’t Facebook, the problem is oversharers and those whose lives exist to follow them devoutly. And actually, the problem isn’t really them, either, because you never hear THEM complaining about the attention they get OR pay. It’s folks that WANT the easy attention that Facebook makes possible, but, just like in the real world, they’re just not the kind of folks that are good with getting followers.

      So, they go whining like any good snowflake. By the time they force their will on Facebook, though, Facebook will be as dead as their dying userbase. Then it’s time for the FTC to come to the aid of more snowflakes! 🙂

  5. Facebook monopolizes on mindshare. There’s a reason to have some frustration/outrage with this. As a broken record, I’ve mentioned before; the company knew from the beginning they were creating a monster, but they proceeded anyway. By monster, I mean something NOT beneficial/healthy for the culture (read what co-founder Sean Parker has said about this…I find it malevolent).

    But, in-spite of this, scores of users that continue to come to this fount of dirty water can’t, or shouldn’t feel they’re the victim. Intuition, on a level that at least causes a meter reading, easily confirms there’s a “curious” magnetism to the site? Say nothing of their befuddling involvement with “free speech.”

    It’s worth mentioning FB has been in the news for awhile for wanting to be a part of the digital currency push. Fortunately, Congress shut down their initial efforts. Undeterred, FB has emerged afresh with a new name for their coin (Libra_aka Diem). I have a suspicion the govt would love to leverage FB’s user base to make Uncle Sam’s dig-coin seem like a good idea. I for one want nothing of FBs mindshare to infiltrate this inevitable reality in any manner. They’ve shown to not care AT ALL with culture’s health and well-being, so why would they act any differently in this realm?

    1. “There’s a reason to have some frustration/outrage with this.”
      No, there’s not. Idiots use it, idiots get what they deserve. That’s like having frustration with fire being hot. I expect the FTC to rule that fire shouldn’t hurt people that put their hands in it.

  6. Gee look at that. Suddenly a McDonalds coupon is appearing in my browser window.

    This has nothing to do with selling data. Everyone sells data. Nearly everyone participates in its acquisition. MDN puts up Google ads. Google uses and sells your data

    If I go to a porn site Safari says one ad tracker was blocked. MDN says 31.

    When FaceBook was heavily instrumental in getting Obama elected, everything was just fine. The digital campaign manager was the toast of the town going from interview to interview and being hosted at several countries to talk about this great new tool that the right was too stupid to use. In 2016 when looking for excuses as to why Trump won, they blamed social media this time. Suddenly it was the end of the world.

    1. “If I go to a porn site Safari says one ad tracker was blocked. MDN says 31.”
      You guys better pay your MDN subscription. If these trackers go away, they won’t be able to keep the site running!

  7. It’s quite amusing how the more people go after Facebook for wrongdoings, the higher the stock price goes. Heck, Facebook investors wouldn’t care if Facebook murdered kittens as long as revenue and profits increased. There seems to be a total disconnect of morality vs stock value thanks to how powerful a person Mark Zuckerberg is. I wish Facebook would just disappear forever, but I’m in the minority as most humans on the planet simply love having their egos stroked on Facebook. Facebook is absolutely untouchable. Facebook is wealthier and more powerful than all 48 attorneys general going after it. Besides, investors love monopolies, so Facebook will remain intact with no regulation.

    1. One could easily posit the stock market is disconnected from morality. Because of the Chinese’s “murdering of their own kittens”, some might say Apple is covering its own eyes from wrongdoings…for “revenue and profits.” I’d hate to be required to argue on Apple’s behalf.

      I’m implicated in the mess myself as a stockholder.

  8. Isn’t it the FTC that is usually involved in rulings for ‘important’ Mergers and Acquisitions? If so, they’re suing a company for monopoly practices resulting from their lack of action when the M&A was first proposed?

  9. Hey, we all love Apple, right? But the only reason we can agree with Tim is because Apple’s income is made from the sale of gadgets, not from the Facebookian method of selling people which, come to think of it, could be a latter day form of slavery where slaves were sold back and forth. Facebook the slavemaster.

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