A bipartisan coalition of 48 state and territorial attorneys general filed an appeals brief seeking the overturn of a district court judge’s dismissal of their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB).
What Happened: In December 2020, the attorneys general and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook, claiming it used predatory strategies to acquire competitors, including the company’s Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, which resulted in significantly decreased direct competition and a reduction of consumer privacy protections.
Last July, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided in Facebook’s favor and dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the FTC “has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims – namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services.”
Judge Boasberg added that the states waited too long to challenge Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Instagram and 2014 purchase of WhatsApp.
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What Happened Next: In the appeals brief filed on Friday, the attorneys general argued the district court’s ruling was laced with legal and factual errors about Facebook’s business operations. They also insisted there was no time limit for their challenge to the company’s acquisitions.
“Mark Zuckerberg claims to be building the metaverse, but the actions of Facebook continue to cause significant harm to millions of consumers and many small businesses here in the real world,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the coalition. “Time and again, the social media giant has used its market dominance to force small companies out of business and reduce competition for millions of users.”
“We’re filing this appeal with the support of almost every state in the nation because we will always fight efforts to stifle competition, reduce innovation, and cut privacy protections, even when we face a goliath like Facebook,” James added.
Facebook did not publicly comment on the appeals brief. The company’s shares closed in Friday trading at $336.90, up 1.66%; the company’s 52-week trading range is $252.72 to $384.33.