Unfriend: Arkansas joins action against Facebook

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP-KARK/FOX16)- The Natural State is joining a fight against one of the biggest names in Big Tech.

A spokesperson with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office confirmed Wednesday the state has filed a lawsuit along with the U.S. Government and 47 other states that accuses Facebook 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.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

“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. I am bringing this lawsuit to ensure that Arkansans have a choice in the marketplace and to remedy Facebook’s anti-competitive practices.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“It’s really critically important that we block this predatory acquisition of companies and that we restore confidence to the market,” James said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

In its lawsuit, the FTC is seeking the separation of the services from Facebook, saying Facebook has engaged in a “systematic strategy” to eliminate its competition, including by purchasing smaller up-and-coming rivals like Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. James echoed that in her press conference, saying Facebook “used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users.”

Facebook is the world’s biggest social network with 2.7 billion users and a company with a market value of nearly $800 billion whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth-richest individual and the most public face of Big Tech. Facebook did not have an immediate comment.

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Sisak reported from New York.

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