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Facebook asked to be ordered to divest from Instagram and WhatsApp in new antitrust lawsuit

The U.S. federal government and 48 states have alleged gross abuse of market power in new lawsuits against the social network.

December 09, 2020
Facebook asked to be ordered to divest from Instagram and WhatsApp in new antitrust lawsuit Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 46 states (plus Guam and the District of Columbia) filed massive lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday morning, alleging gross abuse of market power and illegal acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota declined to join the suit, according to NPR.

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"For nearly a decade Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release. "Today, we are taking action to stand up for the millions of consumers and many small businesses that have been harmed by Facebook's illegal behavior."

One of the suits asks that the court blocks Facebook from any acquisitions worth more than $10 million as the case progresses, while another insists upon divestment from WhatsApp and Instagram. While Facebook has yet to comment on the suit, James expressed confidence in the ability of the attorneys general, pointing to the 1984 breakup of AT&T as an example.

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Facebook asked to be ordered to divest from Instagram and WhatsApp in new antitrust lawsuit