You can’t blame Mark Zuckerberg if he has a bit of a headache today, as he spends most of Wednesday running between meetings with his lawyers and team of crisis PR directors. Forty eight state attorneys general and the FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, as they allege the social media giant engages in anticompetitive behavior.
Fox Business reports that the lawsuit will accuse Facebook of simply buying out its competitors, which then leaves consumers with few alternatives in the social media spectrum.
Reading between the lines, it’s clear that the suit is referencing companies like WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which Facebook gobbled up in billion-dollar transactions.
Zuckerberg has generally maintained an “aw shucks” approach, claiming back in November when he was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about censorship that it’s just normal business transactions when Facebook removes competitors.
“I don’t think we or anyone else viewed Instagram as a competitor – as a large, multipurpose social platform,” Zuckerberg said. “In fact, at the time, people at the time kind of mocked our acquisition because they thought that we dramatically spent more than we should have on something that was … primarily a photo and camera-sharing app.”
Facebook has had to write some big checks in the past, paying a $5 billion fine in 2019 over their privacy and data practices. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have also been investigating the company for the alleged antitrust practices.
Heading up the 48-state lawsuit is New York Attorney General Letitia James. It’s a bipartisan charge, meaning that for the first time in a very long time, Republicans and Democrats actually agree on something.