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US antitrust suits taking aim at Facebook: reports


SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 3, 2020 (AFP) – Federal regulators and US states are poised to hit Facebook with antitrust cases, US media reported Thursday, amid concerns that its practice of buying up rivals has harmed competition.

The company said earlier this year its executives were fielding questions from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on an antitrust fact-finding mission.

The FTC declined to comment Thursday on reports in multiple US outlets including The New York Times and Washington Post that it is likely to file an antitrust suit against the California-based tech giant.

Facebook is the leading social network, reaching close to three billion people worldwide with its core platform along with Instagram and messaging services WhatsApp and Messenger.

An estimated seven in 10 US adults use Facebook and its reach allows it to play an outsized role in digital advertising and in delivering news and information.

While many of the complaints against it concern its handling of political misinformation and hate speech, some activists say it has been allowed to squelch competition by buying up smaller rivals.

An FTC review of acquisitions dating back to 2010 could potentially “unwind” some of the deals.

US state attorneys general have also been investigating Facebook’s power in the marketplace. gc/ft Agence France-Presse