US Regulators filed landmark antitrust lawsuits against Facebook

The giant tech companies whose services are woven into the fabric of social life are now the targets of a widening assault by government competition enforcers. Regulators filed landmark antitrust lawsuits Wednesday against Facebook, the second major government offensive this year against once seemingly untouchable tech behemoths.

The Federal Trade Commission and 48 states and districts sued the social network giant, accusing it of abusing its market power to squash smaller competitors and seeking remedies that could include a forced spinoff of Facebook’s prized Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services. The company’s conduct has crimped consumers’ choices and harmed their data privacy, the regulators charged.

Once lionized as innovators and job creators — and largely left alone by Washington for nearly two decades — Big Tech companies have seen their political fortunes plummet. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have come under scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators, state attorneys general and European authorities. Their once-considerable political support in Congress has eroded.

Lawmakers of both major parties are championing stronger oversight of the industry, arguing that its massive market power is out of control, crushing smaller competitors and endangering consumer privacy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2020

The Canadian Press