The social media firm has been accused of maintaining a monopoly by acquiring other social media rivals


The FTC and some US states have urged a federal court to deny Facebook’s request to dismiss antitrust lawsuits. (Credit: Okan Caliskan from Pixabay)

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and certain states in the country have urged a federal court to turn down a request from Facebook for dismissing two antitrust lawsuits filed against it in late 2020.

Facebook has been charged by the FTC and the states for illegally sustaining its monopoly in social networking business by indulging in unlawful conduct.

Besides, the company has been accused of maintaining the monopoly by taking over rivals such as photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012 for $1bn and messaging app WhatsApp for $19bn in 2014.

The social media company told the court that the lawsuits were filed in the fraught environment of constant criticism on it for matters that are completely not related to antitrust concerns.

Apart from that, the company said that the states could not prove in their case that they were harmed by it and that they waited for a long time, reported Reuters.

In its filing, the FTC told the court that the social media giant acquired Instagram as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg reckoned it to be a large and viable competitor. On the other hand, WhatsApp was acquired by the company to offset a nascent threat, claimed the FTC.

The agency has asked the federal court to order the social media firm to divest Instagram and WhatsApp.

FTC, which sued Facebook in December 2020, alleged that the company’s behaviour harms competition, and leaves consumers with lesser options for personal social networking. Furthermore, it deprives the benefits of competition for advertisers.

In their filing, the group of US states, wrote: “Deploying a buy-or-bury scheme of predatory acquisitions and exclusionary conduct, Facebook successfully squashes, suppresses, and deters competition, entrenching its monopoly power to this day.”

Recently, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had referred Facebook’s previously closed acquisition of Giphy for an in-depth phase 2 probe. It follows a phase 1 merger inquiry launched in January 2021 into the deal on anti-competition grounds.