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US states request Meta antitrust lawsuit be reinstated

Written by Thu 22 Sep 2022

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Dozens of American states, led by New York, have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reinstate a suit filed in 2020. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also sued Meta, asking the court to force the firm to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

The US states feel concerned that Meta may have bought these social media platforms to reduce competition and selectively enforce policies to limit rivals access to user data. But a lower court judged that the states has waited too long to bring a claim.

Aaron Panner, the attorney for Meta, argued that the purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively, were well-publicised. Barbara Underwood, solicitor general of New York and leader of the US states group, has said it is incorrect to place a defined time limit on the action, as the lawsuit is not a class action but rather a form of law enforcement and Facebook’s actions have harmed the economy and marketplace.

“As a result, it has stifled competition and denied consumers the improvements in service and other benefits that competition provides. The states bring this action to protect the public from the continuing harm caused by this conduct,” said Underwood.

Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro said: “We believe the district court’s decision dismissing the states’ complaint is correct, and that there are no grounds for overturning that decision.”

Barbara Underwood dismissed the points made by Meta due to the fact that, she says, the anticompetitive nature of the purchases was not “immediately apparent and that the social media giant had made “misrepresentations” to regulators about its goals.

According to Underwood, Meta’s illegal behaviour was not apparent until the end of 2018, after the UK Parliament published documents from the company that illustrated how Facebook acted with competitors.

Written by Thu 22 Sep 2022


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