DES MOINES, Iowa – Attorney General Tom Miller joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general in suing Facebook Inc., alleging that the company illegally stifles competition to protect its monopoly power.
The lawsuit alleges that the social networking giant illegally acquired competitors or potential rivals — including Instagram and WhatsApp — and cut services to smaller perceived threats over the last decade. This deprived users from the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue, the lawsuit alleges.
“Facebook has gained tremendous power over Americans’ lives through its monopolistic behavior,” Miller said. “Without meaningful competition, consumers and small businesses have fewer choices in social networking, resulting in diminished privacy, reduced quality, and less transparency.”
Miller is on the executive committee leading the investigation of Facebook, along with the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.
In coordination with the states, the Federal Trade Commission filed a separate antitrust complaint today against Facebook in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The AGs’ lawsuit, also filed in D.C. District Court, says Facebook violated the Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts. It asks the court to halt Facebook’s illegal, anticompetitive conduct and block the company from continuing this behavior in the future. Additionally, the coalition asks the court to restrain Facebook from making further acquisitions valued at or in excess of $10 million without advance notice to the plaintiff states.