Facebook was sued on December 8th by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 other states in two antitrust lawsuits for alleged “anti-competitive behavior” and abusing power in the digital industry. The Federal Trade Commission went further in an attempt to indefinitely separate assets of Facebook like Instagram and WhatsApp as well as attempt to impose other laws and restrictions to prevent anti-competition from Facebook. According to the federal lawsuit, the reason behind Facebook buying Instagram in 2012, and WhatsApp in 2014 was to illegally stifle any competitors to their business. By using their immense wealth and reputation, Facebook has gotten rid of any rivals or competition to their profits and can maintain its position as one of the largest social media platforms in the world.
This type of legal action has not been noticed in only Facebook, but also in a large portion of the technology industry itself. In October, forty states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google for attempting to give themselves an unfair advantage above other competitors. In general, the four tech tycoons of the industry, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, have all been found to be “anti-competitive” and unfairly monopolizing the industry to themselves.
In summary, this lawsuit on Facebook may take many years to come to a verdict. In an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in the early 2000s, the federal government accused Microsoft of monopoly through limiting the usage of other competitors’ products and uninstalling Internet Explorer, an Internet browser created by Microsoft. It took two years for a verdict that, in name, broke up Microsoft’s assets, but was later found to be too light of a punishment to affect Microsoft much at all. If the government concludes to break up Facebook properly, the breakup will be beneficial to new technology startups, create more options for consumers, and potentially encourage innovation in America.
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