Forty-six states led in part by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Facebook on Wednesday, alleging the company unfairly squashed competition in order to maintain a social media monopoly.
The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.
“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit reads.
The company sacrificed the best interests of its users to protect its advertising revenue, the lawsuit alleges, harming consumers who had no other good options besides Facebook.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort.
“The American way is to allow all companies to compete fairly and to provide consumers with the promise of new, innovative and better products and services spurred by competition,” Weiser said in a statement. “A bipartisan group of state attorneys general have filed this action against Facebook because its campaign of promising to either ‘buy or bury’ competitive threats has undermined competition, harmed consumers, and thwarted innovation.”
Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.
More than half the U.S. population over the age of 13 use Facebook daily, according to the lawsuit.
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