The US Federal Trade Commission and most US states filed lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday, saying the company had violated the antitrust law and may have to be split.
Facebook thus became the second big tech company to face a massive lawsuit this fall. The Federal Trade Commission said in a statement that it would seek to issue a ruling that “could include: mandatory divestment of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp.”
In a second lawsuit, a coalition of 46 states, Washington, DC, and Guam, is demanding a ruling stating that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp is illegal.
The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google in October, accusing the company, which is worth a trillion dollars of the Alphabet Group, of using its strong market position to clamp down on competitors.
These lawsuits are the largest in the antitrust field in many years and can be compared to Microsoft’s case in 1998.
The federal government eventually settled that case, but years of litigation and scrutiny aimed at preventing monopoly prevented the company from aborting competitors and is credited with facilitating the explosive growth of the Internet.