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46 US states appeal court to reinstate antitrust suit against Meta

Suit was filed in late 2020 and dismissed this past summer. Last week, the court allowed a similar suit by the FTC to continue

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

A bipartisan coalition of attorney generals from 46 US states, as well as from the District of Columbia and Guam, asked the DC court of appeals to reinstate an antitrust suit against Facebook which was dismissed last year.

“Over the last decade, Facebook, now known as Meta, illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut or conditioned services to smaller threats — depriving users of the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue,” said NY Attorney General Letitia James, who led the original lawsuit and the appeal.

“Time and again, the social media giant has used its market dominance to force small companies out of business and reduce competition for millions of users,” added James.

“We’re filing this appeal with the support of almost every state in the nation because we will always fight efforts to stifle competition, reduce innovation, and cut privacy protections, even when we face a Goliath like Facebook."

The attorney general coalition filed their lawsuit in the DC court in December 2020, and Facebook’s motion to dismiss was granted in June. Now, the plaintiffs are appealing to move forward with their case.

James’ appeal comes on the footsteps of a Thursday ruling of the same court, which denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss a similar Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suit, also filed in 2020, and allowed it to proceed. That case was also initially thrown out, then refiled.

Both lawsuits, which followed years of investigations, have asked to order Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, arguing against the tactics used, and stating this has created a social network monopoly.

This is not all for Meta, which also faces a £2.3 billion class action suit in the UK over market dominance allegations abuse. The company is also mentioned in an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google, according to which the CEOs of both companies oversaw an illegal ad auction deal which gave Facebook an advantage.

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