The Federal Trade Commission and a large group of US states on Wednesday asked a federal court to dismiss Facebook Inc’s request to dismiss major antitrust lawsuits against the social media giant in December.
The FTC said in its filing that Facebook bought the photo-sharing app Instagram because Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg believed it was “a major and viable competitor” and bought the messaging app WhatsApp to neutralize an emerging threat. The FTC has asked the court to order Facebook to sell those assets.
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The states, which had filed a separate antitrust suit against Facebook, said in their filing: “ By enacting a buy-or-bury scheme of predatory takeovers and foreclosure behavior, Facebook successfully crushes, suppresses and deter competition, and it anchors its monopolistic power in this. day.”
Facebook had asked the court to dismiss the two lawsuits on the grounds that they were brought “into the fraught environment of relentless criticism of Facebook for cases unrelated to antitrust issues.”
It also said that in their case, the states could not prove that they had been harmed by Facebook and that they had waited too long.
The FTC and states accused Facebook of violating antitrust law to keep smaller competitors at bay and track down rivals like Instagram for $ 1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion.
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All told, the federal government and states filed five lawsuits against Alphabet Inc’s Facebook and Google last year after bipartisan outrage over the use and abuse of the influence of social media, both in the economy and in the political sphere.
(Report by Diane Bartz; edited by Peter Cooney)