New York’s attorney general has announced that dozens of US states are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing Facebook of abusing its market power, seeking to force it to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.
The lawsuit, initially brought by the US Federal Trade Commission and 48 states and districts, was dismissed by a federal judge in June, who claimed that it was “legally insufficient,” failing to show that Facebook is a monopoly, and therefore, abusing its position to crush potential competition.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that her office has filed a notice of appeal and intends to continue seeking to “hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation and cutting privacy protections.”
Part of Judge James Boasberg’s decision to reject the lawsuit was due to the length of time the states had waited to challenge Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, completed in 2012, and WhatsApp, finalized in 2014.
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Facebook’s spokesperson responded to the decision to appeal the lawsuit by reiterating the company’s view that “the District Court’s decision dismissing the states’ complaint is correct,” adding that it “looks forward to defending the District Court’s decision before the Court of Appeals.”
The decision to challenge Facebook has received a measure of bipartisan support in America. Earlier in July, President Joe Biden appointed antitrust researcher Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission to explore potential actions that can be taken against tech giants, while Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri previously backed the lawsuit, accusing Facebook of having “massive market power,” but essentially having “shrugged its shoulders” at antitrust efforts.
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