Friday, December 11, 2020

FTC and 48 states file massive anti-trust lawsuit(s) against Facebook and want to break off Instagram and WhatsApp

 

Facebook HQ, Menlo Park CA, my trip, 2018

Hoeg Law has a detailed video (53 minutes) on the FTC’s lawsuit against Facebook trying to force it to sell off Instagram and Whatsapp.  Hoeg thinks the suit is weak.  48 out of 50 state attorneys journal have also sued. There is a supporting story on ABC News, and Hoeg also links to a pdf of the complaint

The Sherman Anti-Trust (we study it in high school US history class) is the heart of the matter, and deliberately monopolizing is a “felony”. But this usually requires accompanying “anti-competitive conduct”.

Hoeg says that 2/3 of the claims brought before the FTC are weak.

There are questions about which kinds of conduct are exclusionary, particularly in building API’s.

Facebook, when banning users, has often banned them from Instagram at the same time, so the effect is to give Facebook more power over user speech.  In some cases of deplatformings, Twitter has removed the same users simultaneously without explanation (remember the Facebook Purge 3.0 in the fall of 2018).

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