The Federal Trade Commission and the state attorneys general have a good shot at proving Facebook is a dangerous monopoly that should be broken up. But it’s going to take some big-league lawyering, and a lot of time and money, to get it done.
The FTC, and attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam filed twin antitrust suits in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia on Wednesday. They allege that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and Whatsapp in 2014 were motivated by a desire to eliminate two potential competitors from the marketplace, and resulted in a social networking marketplace that lacks choice and threatens consumer privacy. The plaintiffs ask the court to force Facebook to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp, a drastic move of the sort that courts have traditionally been hesitant to order in previous antitrust cases.
These are the main points of contention that will ultimately decide the case.