Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has joined with 47 other state attorneys general in an antitrust suit accusing Facebook Inc. of abusing its market power to stifle competition to the detriment of its users.
In an action filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the A.G.s allege that Facebook either buys potential rivals or denies them access to its own platform and therefore access to its 2.7 billion active monthly users.
“One of the greatest benefits to owning a business in the United States is having the ability to operate and innovate in a free and fair marketplace,” Moody said in a written statement containing a link to the complaint.
“The stifling of competition and predatory actions of Facebook are inexcusable, and as a result, its users, innovation and competition have all suffered. I am proud to work with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to take action against Facebook for its unlawful, anticompetitive business practices and end the social media giant’s monopoly control,” Moody said.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a parallel complaint.
Facebook posted a written statement noting that regulators has approved the acquisitions it allegedly used to stifle competition.
“This lawsuit risks sowing doubt and uncertainty about the US government’s own merger review process and whether acquiring businesses can actually rely on the outcomes of the legal process,” the company said.
“It would also punish companies for protecting their investment and technology from free-riding by those who did not pay for the innovation, making those companies less likely over the long term to make their platforms available to spur the growth of new products and services.”
In October, Moody joined a similar action against Google LLC.
The complaint asks the court to block Facebook from making any acquisitions valued at more than $10 million without notice to the A.G.s and otherwise stop its anticompetitive conduct.