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Attorneys general plan to sue Facebook over antitrust violations next week: report

Attorneys general plan to sue Facebook over antitrust violations next week: report
© Greg Nash

New York is leading a group of states in a Facebook antitrust investigation and the states plan to sue the tech giant next week, Reuters reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. 

The state-led complaint would be the second major lawsuit filed against a major tech company in the U.S. this year, following the Justice Department's lawsuit against Google in October.

More than 40 states plan to sign the lawsuit, a source told Reuters. The source did not name which states will be part of the effort. 

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Spokespeople for Facebook and the New York attorney general’s office declined to comment to Reuters, and the spokespeople did not immediately respond for comment when contacted by The Hill. 

Details of what the states plan to include in the complaint is not known, Reuters reported. 

Facebook, one of four big tech companies investigated by the House Judiciary panel on antitrust, has faced allegations that it strategically sought to buy smaller potential rivals including Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. 

The House report released in October unearthed emails that showed senior employees, including CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot Zuckerberg'Nationalize' Facebook and Twitter as public goods Amazon cites death threats in push to keep Parler offline Trump hits social media companies after they banned his accounts MORE, describing acquiring Instagram in 2012 as a way to neutralize a competitive threat.

The report also uncovered an internal memo from October 2018 that claimed the company faced more competition within its own products, including Instagram and WhatsApp, than externally. 

Zuckerberg, who has frequently testified in front of Congress, has defended the company against antitrust allegations over the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, arguing it helped expand the companies. 

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission also began antitrust investigations into Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google in 2019. A group of states launched a joint probe of Facebook.