More than 40 states apparently plan to sign on to a New York-led antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.
While it is not known what antitrust violations they plan to include, according to CNBC, one allegation frequently made is that Facebook has strategically bought out small potential rivals at large prices to protect their grasp on the social media market. Some of those purchases include Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.
Facebook has also faced increased pressure in Congress from both sides of the aisle in recent years, with Democrats accusing the company of being a platform for fake and misleading information, while Republicans have charged that the company censors conservative views.
Former Federal Trade Commission Chairman William Kovacic said that the bipartisan nature of the complaints against tech giants in recent years should give authorities the confidence to carry out antitrust investigations.
“The supportive chorus of elected officials is giving assurance to DOJ and the FTC that they have the political support they need to blunt [the companies’] efforts … to pressure the agencies to back off or water down their cases,” Kovacic said.
Federal Trade Commission leaders, who met on Wednesday, could also be readying to file a similar complaint with an administrative law judge or in district court. The lawsuit would focus on Facebook’s moderation policies, which have been under a microscope since the 2016 election.
The lawsuit would be the second filed against a major tech company this year after the Justice Department sued Google in October.
“This is a historic time for both federal and state antitrust authorities, as we work to protect competition and innovation in our technology markets,” a group of attorneys general, including Colorado’s Phil Weiser, said in a recent statement. “We plan to conclude parts of our investigation of Google in the coming weeks. If we decide to file a complaint, we would file a motion to consolidate our case with the DOJ’s.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a Washington Examiner request for comment.