JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.- Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that Missouri has joined 48 other states filing a lawsuit against Facebook Inc.
The lawsuit alleges the social media giant illegally stifles competition to protect its monopoly power.
According to a press release from AG Schmitt, the lawsuit also states that Facebook illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut services to smaller threats over the last decade. Schmitt says, as a result, users were deprived of the benefits of competition, and privacy protections and services were reduced — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue.
“The coalition 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 state of New York and other plaintiff states. Finally, the court is asked to provide any additional relief it determines is appropriate, including the divestiture or restructuring of illegally acquired companies, or current Facebook assets or business lines,” the release states.
Schmitt states Facebook is specifically charged with violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act, in addition to multiple violations of Section 7 of the Clayton Act.
“We are filing this suit on behalf of the millions of consumers and small businesses who have been harmed by Facebook’s predatory behavior,” Schmitt said. “We allege that Facebook has stifled competition to protect its monopoly power, reduced choices for consumers, shut down innovation and weakened privacy protections for millions of Americans.”
The Associated Press reports this news comes as federal regulators asked for Facebook to be ordered to divest its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services.
Facebook is the world’s biggest social network with 2.7 billion users and a company with a market value of nearly $800 billion whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth-richest individual and the most public face of Big Tech swagger, the AP states.
Arkansas is included in the list of 48 states.