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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.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning four of the five cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in four out of five instances gives legitimacy to the board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook developing a tool to help advertisers avoid bad news

Photo Illustration: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook on Friday said it's testing new advertiser "topic exclusion controls" to help address concerns marketers may have that their ads are appearing next to topics in Facebook's News Feed that they consider bad for their brand.  

Why it matters: As Axios has previously noted, the chaotic nature of the modern news cycle and digital advertising landscape has made it nearly impossible for brands to run ads against quality content in an automated fashion without encountering bad content.