On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a massive antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, claiming that the social network has hurt competition by buying smaller companies such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Forty-seven other state and regional attorneys general agree with the lawsuit.
Η αγωγή επικεντρώνεται στις εξαγορές του Facebook, ιδίως την αγορά Instagram ύψους 1 δισεκατομμυρίου δολαρίων το 2011. Εκτός από τη στρατηγική απόκτησης, οι γενικοί εισαγγελείς ισχυρίζονται ότι το Facebook χρησιμοποίησε τη δύναμη και την εμβέλεια της πλατφόρμας του για να περιορίσει την ανάπτυξη των χρηστών σε ανταγωνιστικές services.
"For almost a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and eliminate competition," James told a news conference.
“Facebook used huge sums of money to acquire potential rivals before they threatened its dominance companyς ”.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a separate lawsuit against Facebook on similar grounds, which was announced at the same time as the lawsuit above. The FTC case specifically asks for the court to break the dominance of the social network by separating the Instagram and WhatsApp services into two independent companies.
"Our goal is to reverse Facebook's anti-competitive behavior and restore competition so that innovation and free competition thrive." said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC Competition Office.
Facebook, on the other hand, claims that both acquisitions were made in consultation with regulatory agencies and that overturning them would set a dangerous precedent. "Years after the FTC approved our acquisitions, the government now wants a change without considering the impact the precedent would have on the broader business community or on people who choose our products every day", says the company.
Another aspect of the antitrust lawsuit is whether the companies' acquisition of Facebook made the product worse for consumers - especially in terms of privacy.
Facebook has long claimed that its resources and scale are responsible for turning apps like Instagram and WhatsApp into giant billion-dollar platforms.millions users. However, researchers are looking at how for example, its market WhatsApp from Facebook and his decision to use WhatsApp user data later may have harmed consumers and ruined competitors 'competition by exploiting users' privacy.