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States ask US court to reinstate Facebook antitrust lawsuit

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WASHINGTON — Dozens of states led by New York on Friday asked a U.S. federal appeals court to reinstate an antitrust lawsuit filed against Facebook.

“Facebook is a monopoly that has leveraged its immense market power to crush competition. Through an ongoing policy of ‘buy or bury’ fledgling competitors, Facebook has maintained a monopoly that harms its users and the general public” , wrote attorneys in New York and other states in a filing with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

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Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc said the states were wrong to seek the dismissal of the district court remand. “There is no reason to overturn this decision in the Court of Appeals,” a spokesperson for Meta said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Letitia James says Facebook is bad for consumers. “Time and time again, the social media giant has used its market dominance to force small businesses out of business and reduce competition for millions of users,” she said.

The group, made up of 46 states, Guam and the District of Columbia, argued that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia erred in ruling that they waited too long to file a lawsuit.

They argued that states are entitled to delays that private plaintiffs do not have. They also argued that if the court determined they had waited too long, states were entitled to respect others because of their role in protecting the public interest.

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Boasberg had also dismissed a related Federal Trade Commission complaint against Facebook in June, but allowed the agency to refile the case. He did, and Boasberg said this week the case would be allowed to go forward.

The FTC and the states had asked the court in 2020 to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014.

The lawsuits follow years of investigation into America’s Big Four tech giants, as well as lawsuits against Alphabet Inc.’s Facebook and Google (Reporting by Diane Bartz ind Washington and Elizabeth Culliford in New York Montage by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis)