Facebook faces major lawsuit next week, as 40 US states ‘plan to sue’ tech giant

A group of US states plan to sue Facebook next week over antitrust violations, according to a report.

More than 40 states, led by New York, will reportedly sign on to the lawsuit, though the exact nature of the complaint is not yet clear.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters said the states had been investigating Facebook over its handling of market competition.

One common complaint made against Facebook is that it swallows potential rivals to its business, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

The social media giant has also been accused of copying popular features from competitors, most notably Snapchat’s Stories tool.

Versions of the ephemeral media-sharing feature are now offered by Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook declined to comment about reports of the legal action planned next week.

It is the second major lawsuit to be brought against a US technology firm in 2020.

The complaint claimed that Google was “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets”.

New York was not among the 11 US states taking action against Google.

The states involved were Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

“Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google – the gatekeeper of the internet – for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” said Attorney General William Barr at the time.

“Since my confirmation, I have prioritised the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive.”

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