Alleging that Facebook is involved in unlawful, anticompetitive schemes to consolidate its dominance in social networking, the U.S. government and more than 40 bipartisan attorneys general are readying to file antitrust lawsuits against the tech giant Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.
Specifically, the lawsuits are expected to claim Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp were part of an organized strategy to get rid of threats from the competition and enable Facebook to become a market leader, while at the same time eliminating a privacy-protective alternatives for users.
However, the sources who revealed the intention cautioned the exact plans and timing of the lawsuits could change, adding the attorney general are, as part of the procedure, expected to request a judge consider other potential solutions, including forcing Facebook to sell off some of its business.
All the parties involved declined to comment on the matter.
The lawsuit by the states is being carried out in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, the Post reported. Last year, U.S. investigators started antitrust investigations involving Facebook, while the FTC went after the tech giant almost immediately after finishing a probe involving Facebook’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica that forced the tech giant to pay a $5 billion fine.
Facebook has been attempting to fend off the allegations, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg saying the company’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp helped it grow into viable services in a larger market where such newcomers as TikTok are still able to do well, stressing that regulators looked into and did not stop the deals at the time.