Says, ‘the social media giant must be held accountable when it keeps other competitors from entering into the marketplace’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against Facebook, Inc., alleging that the company illegally stifles competition to protect its monopoly power. The lawsuit alleges that, over the last decade, the social networking giant illegally acquired competitors and cut services to smaller threats, depriving users of the benefits of competition, and reducing privacy protections and services while gaining billions through increased advertising revenue.
“Many Americans rely on Facebook to connect with family and friends we may not see on a regular basis and the social media giant must be held accountable when it keeps other competitors from entering into the marketplace which keeps Arkansans from having the best option when they chose to share information online,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am bringing this lawsuit to ensure that Arkansans have a choice in the marketplace and to remedy Facebook’s anti-competitive practices.”
Since 2004, Facebook has operated as a personal social networking service that facilitates sharing content online without charging users a monetary fee, but, instead, provides these services in exchange for a user’s time, attention, and personal data. Facebook then monetizes its business by selling advertising to firms that attach immense value to the user engagement and highly targeted advertising that Facebook can deliver due to the vast trove of data it collects on users, their friends, and their interests.
The complaint alleges that Facebook employed various methods to keep its market dominance. The allegations, including buying potential rivals in an effort to stifle competition, detail how Facebook maintained its monopoly and made billions from advertising.
The lawsuit asks the court to halt Facebook’s illegal, anti-competitive conduct and block the company from continuing this behavior in the future. Additionally, the lawsuit asks the court to restrain Facebook from making further acquisitions valued at or in excess of $10 million without advance notice to the State of Arkansas and other plaintiff states. Finally, the court is asked to provide any additional relief it determines is appropriate, including the divestiture or restructuring of illegally acquired companies, or current Facebook assets or business lines.