SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) – California is joining the U.S. government and 48 states and districts in a lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the company of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors.
Federal regulators asked Wednesday for Facebook to be ordered to divest its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services asREAD MORE: Pasadena's Lucky Boy Burgers Sues Postmates Alleging Unfair Business Practices
The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra confirmed the state would be part of the litigation.
“Anticompetitive behavior harms the market, whether that is a market for health care, telecommunications, or social networking. Facebook leveraged its market power to squash competition and monopolize the market, enabling greater collection and control of data and squandering innovation,” said Becerra.READ MORE: Lynne Thompson Announced As 2021 Los Angeles Poet Laureate
The lawsuit argues that Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram and $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp helped Facebook maintain monopoly power.
According to Becerra, emails and testimony from Facebook executives indicate that the company purchased Instagram and WhatsApp to prevent a migration of their users onto those competing platforms.
In filing today’s lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra joins an executive committee made up of the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. The executive committee is joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the territory of Guam.MORE NEWS: Mayor Eric Garcetti Urges Property Owners To Sign Up For City's New Program
The multistate lawsuit was filed in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, which filed a separate complaint.
(Copyright 2020 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)