Dec 9, 2020 - Technology

State antitrust lawsuit will target Facebook's freeze-out of competitors

Illustration of a gavel bearing down on Facebook's "f" logo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook's past moves cutting off competitors' access to its platform will be one target of the multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Facebook expected to be filed today, according to a person familiar with the case.

Why it matters: State attorneys general are looking to build a case that Facebook has illegally used a monopoly in social networking to elbow out competitors.

Details: The source told Axios that roughly 40 state attorneys general, led by New York, are expected to file suit today. Their claims will focus on at least three key areas:

  • After allowing open access to its platform, Facebook began blocking access to sites that the company viewed as competitive threats.
  • Facebook's acquired other companies, including WhatsApp and Instagram, in order to neutralize their competitive threats.
  • Facebook's position as an unlawful monopoly led to a reduction in privacy for users who have no other options.

What's next: More details on the lawsuit from the states, as well as a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, are expected today.

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