BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — A number of U.S. states, led by New York, reportedly filed with an appeals court on Monday that an antitrust lawsuit against Meta Inc.’s Facebook should be reinstated because the company is hurting competition and there is not a long waiting period for states to file complaints.
New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, who leads the group of 46 states, Guam and the District of Columbia, said it was wrong to treat the states as a class action and impose limits on when they can sue. The states not involved in the case are Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota.
She also said that Facebook’s practices were hurting both the economy and the online marketplace.
The states asked the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reinstate the lawsuit filed in 2020, the same time the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued the company.
Both the FTC and the states had asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014. the current FTC battle with Facebook is ongoing.
Aaron Panner, a defender of Facebook, said that both acquisitions were simultaneously trumpeted in the media, as were the company’s policies regarding third-party apps. Facebook is accused of punishing apps on its platform, for example, that connect to other social networks.
Panner said that because the state’s lawsuit was more of a class action than an enforcement one, and because the conduct described “occurred years ago and did not raise antitrust concerns at the time”, it should be applied out of time.
Judge Raymond Randolph asked which companies Facebook’s competitors included and pointed to news reports that the company had been struggling to retain younger users.
Panner pointed to TikTok, Twitter and other social media popular with users, adding that “sometimes the facts that are favorable to an antitrust defense are not so favorable to a business.”