Today, the Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general filed antitrust lawsuits against Facebook. The suits focus on how Facebook has bought out competitors and potential competitors to stifle competition, as well as how Facebook has withheld access to its network anticompetitively. The suits follow three years of Public Knowledge advocacy on the competition challenges posed by dominant digital platforms like Facebook, including most recently our letters urging the FTC, Department of Justice, and state attorneys general to review Facebook’s conduct for anticompetitive behavior.
The following can be attributed to Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge:
“These lawsuits mark a huge step towards reining in the power of dominant digital platforms. For too long, our country and our world have been unwilling participants in Facebook’s ‘move fast and break things’ experiment. Without competition, users, news organizations, rival apps, and others have been locked into the Facebook network. Now we see that the FTC and multiple state attorneys general obtained evidence that Facebook used that network power anticompetitively and outright purchased companies that might have overtaken Facebook’s powerful market position.
“Today’s antitrust suits demonstrate both the evidence and bipartisan appetite for powerful action to tackle these problems. Resolving the issues caused by years of Facebook’s anticompetitive behavior and abuse of power will take both time and effort from not just antitrust enforcers, but also from Congress — and all of us.
“I commend the FTC and the state attorneys general for this step forward. As we move towards making real competition against Facebook possible, we must make it our goal that Facebook be made to compete on the quality of its product, instead of locking users in because of the size of its social network.”
You may view both the FTC and state attorneys general lawsuits. You may also view our recent letters urging the FTC and DOJ to review Facebook’s conduct for anticompetitive behavior for more information.