Today, NetChoice raised opposition to a new suit by the State Attorneys General from 48 states and territories. The suit argues that antitrust law should be used to break up Facebook and force it to divest its high-quality services Instagram and WhatsApp. Despite the suit’s intention, it does not make a case for antitrust enforcement nor does it illustrate how doing so protects consumers from harm.
“By going after Facebook with no evidence of consumer harm or market power, this action by the State Attorneys General is more about advancing ambition than consumer interests,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice. “The case for antitrust enforcement against Facebook has never been weaker as new social media and digital ad providers like TikTok and Snapchat overtake older services.”
“Facebook faces robust competition from TikTok, Snapchat, and Reddit in social media as well as Google and Amazon in digital advertising, just to name a few” continued Szabo. “Notably, New York Attorney General James’ press conference ignored a necessary requirement for antitrust enforcement, evidence of the abuse of market power. This lawsuit led by New York’s Attorney General is more likely to cause consumer harm than to remedy it.”
“Breaking up Facebook will undermine how the leaps in innovation caused by Facebook’s billions of dollars of investment into WhatsApp and Instagram have led to their popularity and free-to-use services. The State Attorneys General are pounding the tables and shouting ‘antitrust’ not realizing that their desired outcome will result in worse experiences, fewer innovations, and perhaps even paywalls for consumers.”