The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 48 states and territories on Wednesday sued to break up Facebook with hopes that the social media giant would sell assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook has been in the spotlight this week after the company was accused of abusing monopoly power, due to its purchasing of Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook bought the photo-sharing platform Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and the messaging service WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
Instagram and WhatsApp are among the two most popular social media sites. With the help of these apps, Facebook is valued at roughly $800 billion.
Facebook has denied all antitrust allegations and any illegal anti-competitive behavior.
“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said.
While Facebook hasn’t released an official statement about these accusations, its Twitter page did post a tweet about the suit.
There had been talk of breaking up Facebook’s digital empire for several years but scrutiny of Big Tech has increased in 2020. In July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg — along with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Google’s Sundar Pichai — took the witness stand on Capitol Hill to defend their businesses.
“Acquisitions are part of every industry, and just one way we innovate new technologies to deliver more value to people,” Facebook spokesman Chris Sgro said in an October statement. “Instagram and WhatsApp have reached new heights of success because Facebook has invested billions in those businesses.”