States reportedly planning to file Facebook antitrust lawsuit next week

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More than 40 US states are planning to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook next week, a new report says.

The coalition of states — led by New York — is preparing the suit as the social media giant faces a similar probe by the Federal Trade Commission, Reuters reported Wednesday.

It’s not yet clear what the states’ complaint will include, according to the news agency. But Facebook has faced recent scrutiny for snapping up smaller rivals such as Instagram and WhatsApp to bolster its own business.

That’s reportedly a focus of the investigation by the FTC, which could file a related lawsuit against Facebook in a federal court or with an administrative law judge, Reuters says.

New York Attorney General Letitia James confirmed in September 2019 that she was spearheading a bipartisan group of states investigating Facebook for antitrust issues. The Democratic AG said at the time that officials would work to determine whether Facebook “endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

Neither Facebook nor a spokesman for James immediately responded to requests for comment Thursday.

The states’ reported suit would come on the heels of the US Justice Department’s antitrust case against Google for allegedly maintaining “unlawful monopolies” in its search and advertising businesses. Google has called the feds’ October lawsuit “deeply flawed.”

Facebook shares were down about 1 percent at $284.57 as of 10:56 a.m. Thursday.

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