State attorneys general filed a notice Wednesday to appeal the dismissal of their antitrust complaint against Facebook.
The complaint, filed by 48 state attorneys general and led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, was dismissed in June, along with a complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The attorneys general alleged Facebook illegally maintained a social media monopoly by acquiring smaller competitors and preventing other platforms from operating with its software.
“We filed this notice of appeal because we disagree with the court’s decision and must hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation, and cutting privacy protections. We can no longer allow Facebook to profit off of exploiting consumer data,” James said in a statement to The Hill.
District Court Judge James E. Boasberg had dismissed the states’ case because the anti-competitive behavior it alleged, particularly Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, occurred several years before the complaint was filed. Boasberg also found Facebook’s policy preventing platforms from operating with its software was not unlawful.
JUST IN: 48 state/territorial attorneys general appeal the dismissal of their #Facebook monopolization lawsuit to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. (Remember, @FTC‘s complaint was dismissed too by DC District Court but it can file an amended one by Aug. 19?) #antitrust pic.twitter.com/3gh5IbHIls
— Khushita Vasant (@KhushitaVasant) July 28, 2021
“We believe the District Court’s decision dismissing the states’ complaint is correct and look forward to defending the District Court’s decision before the Court of Appeals,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. (RELATED: How Can Antitrust Lawsuits Against Big Tech Succeed?)
The FTC’s complaint against Facebook, also dismissed by Boasberg, can be refiled by Aug. 19. Boasberg had dismissed that complaint due to the FTC’s inability to demonstrate the market in which Facebook held a monopoly and the tech giant’s market share.
The two complaints against Facebook are examples of a flurry of anti-monopoly activity from states, lawmakers, and antitrust enforcers against major tech companies. Google is currently facing a Department of Justice lawsuit, a lawsuit from several states alleging it holds a digital advertising monopoly, and an additional complaint filed by states earlier this month alleging anti-competitive practices in the Google Play Store.
Six bills advanced by the House Judiciary Committee in June target Big Tech’s alleged monopolistic practices, preventing platforms such as Google and Facebook from preferencing their own services and forcing companies to interoperate with competitors.
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