States ask U.S. to reinstate Facebook antitrust lawsuit

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States ask U.S. to reinstate Facebook antitrust lawsuit

A 3 D printed Facebook logo Meta and Facebook logo are displayed on a laptop keyboard in this illustration taken on November 2, 2021. REUTERS Dado Ruvic Illustration File Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan 14, Reuters -- Dozens of states led by New York asked a U.S. federal appeals court on Friday to reinstate an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook FB.O Facebook is a monopolist that has exploited its immense market power to crush competition. The lawsuit from New York and other states was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a continuing course of conduct to 'buy or bury' nascent competitors.

The company, which has since been rebranded to Meta Platforms, did not respond to a request for comment. It said it was innocent of wrongdoing.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Facebook was bad for consumers. She said that the social media giant has used its market dominance to force small companies out of business and reduce competition for millions of users.

The group, made up of 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, argued that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia erred in ruling that they had waited too long to file the lawsuit.

They argued that states are allowed delays that are not allowed by private plaintiffs. They argue that if the court determined they did not wait too long, states are allowed deference that others are not because of their role in protecting the public interest.

Boasberg had thrown out a related Federal Trade Commission complaint against Facebook in June, but allowed the agency to refile the case. Boasberg said this week that the case would be allowed to go forward. In 2020, both the FTC and the states asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014, read more.

The lawsuits followed years of investigation of the four biggest U.S. tech giants, as well as lawsuits against Facebook and Alphabet's Google.