Facebook to Face New Anti-trust Lawsuits in the U.S.

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A group of U.S. states is investigating and were planning to file a lawsuit against Facebook next week due to the possible antitrust violations. These probes looked at whether or not Facebook had left consumers with fewer privacy protections than if they had not bought Instagram and WhatsApp.

If this lawsuit is pursued, this would be the second major legal case filed against a Big Tech this year. In October, the Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc’s Google for allegedly violating the law in using its market power to fend off rivals.

More than 40 states, led by New York, are doing an investigation against Facebook for possible antitrust violations. The names of the other states included in the legal challenge were, however, not named.

It is not known what the states plan to include in their complaint. Still, it will likely accuse Facebook of building an anti-competitive social media giant by buying up its competitors. The lawsuits will also likely include that Facebook has left consumers with fewer social media choices after purchasing other companies.

One of the most often accusations was thrown at Facebook is how it strategically buys up small potential rivals for a big premium. Including among them are Instagram, in 2012 and WhatsApp, in 2014.

The commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission also met on Wednesday and were saying that they could file a related complaint in district court or with an administrative law judge.

“Facebook” (CC BY 2.0) by Stock Catalog.

According to the sources, the investigations are already entering their final stages, and they have already looked at the changes that happened with Instagram and WhatsApp since Facebook bought them.

Investigators were particularly looking at whether Facebook left their consumers with less privacy protections than if Instagram and WhatsApp had remained independent.

Following news reports on the investigation on Facebook, Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement, “We don’t comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, but as we have said before, we will continue to use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions stifled competition, reduced choices, or put user data at risk.”

Meanwhile, last month, Senators attacked Facebook and Twitter over how their services handled the election misinformation. Republicans, in particular, had complained about the warnings that are affixed at posts, like those by Trump that falsely claimed to have been reelected.

Facebook and Twitter both introduced these labels in their attempt to prevent the anticipated onslaught of election-related lies. In addition to these labels, the companies also added links that direct to “more credible sources.”

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, also suggested that the big tech companies were choosing what fiction and fact are and are picking sides through these labels.

Republican SenatorBen Sasse of Nebraska also agreed that these companies are taking sides by adding a label to the posts of conservatives as “misinformation” while not doing the same for Democrats. Senator Sasse also claimed that the bias is due to the fact that the employees of both California-based companies are mostly liberals.

Sasse said, “you’re applying content moderation policies in seemingly a way that’s not objective.”