Facebook could face a state antitrust lawsuit as soon as next week

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, October 23, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

State attorneys general are preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook as soon as next week, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC’s Ylan Mui. At least 20 to 30 states could join in, the sources said.

The news comes as multiple outlets have reported the Federal Trade Commission is likely to file its own antitrust lawsuit against the social media giant. It’s still unclear where the FTC may choose to bring a case — either in federal court or before its administrative law judge. If it chooses to bring the case in-house, it cannot combine its lawsuit with the states. Reuters previously reported the states were planning an antitrust case against Facebook.

Both the FTC and the state AGs, led by New York’s Letitia James,

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Facebook Faces Antitrust Lawsuit From as Many as 40 U.S. States

A group of U.S. states led by New York is investigating Facebook  (FB) – Get Report for potential antitrust violations, with plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant.

Citing four sources familiar with the situation, Reuters reported that more than 40 states are behind the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed as soon as next week.

Facebook and other tech giants including Amazon.com  (AMZN) – Get Report, Apple  (AAPL) – Get Report and Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) – Get Report have been accused of using their size and reach to direct consumers to their own products and services, stifling competition in the process.

Specifically, federal and state antitrust authorities are probing whether Facebook is taking advantage of its size and platforms in search and advertising practices – in particular through third-party platforms it owns like Instagram and WhatsApp.

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Facebook and Google May Face 4 New Antitrust Lawsuits

Tech giants Facebook  (FB) – Get Report and Google  (GOOGL) – Get Report could face as many as four new antitrust lawsuits in January, a media report says.

Shares of Facebook at last check were down 1.5% to $273.79. Google slipped  2% to $1752.18.

Federal and state antitrust authorities are preparing to file new lawsuits against Google for abuse of its competitive position in search and advertising practices, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. Facebook faces action regarding its social-media dominance, the paper reported.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a long-awaited antitrust case against Google.

The DoJ said the action was brought to “restrain Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices, and to remedy the effects of this

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The FTC and state attorneys general are reportedly aiming up to 4 new antitrust lawsuits at Facebook and Google as talk of regulation continues to heat up



a close up of Sundar Pichai wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Carsten Koall/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images


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Carsten Koall/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general are gearing up to hit Google and Facebook with new antitrust lawsuits in the coming weeks, per a Monday report from The Wall Street Journal.
  • The probes will focus on whether the companies have had unfair advantages in their domination of the search and ad market and social media.
  • The DOJ and state attorneys generals have been probing aspects of Google’s business, including its search, online advertising, and Android practices, since 2019. The DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in October.
  • But if the government sued Facebook, it would be the first major US government antitrust action taken against the social media company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Federal and state officials are gearing up to slap Facebook and Google with up to four new antitrust lawsuits by

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Meituan’s third-quarter sales rise as antitrust clouds gather over China’s internet giants



The logo of Meituan is seen on insulated boxes fastened on its food delivery couriers’ motorcycles in the central business district of Beijing. Photo: Reuters


© REUTERS
The logo of Meituan is seen on insulated boxes fastened on its food delivery couriers’ motorcycles in the central business district of Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Meituan, operator of China’s largest e-commerce platform for services, expects “reinforced regulation” to promote more innovation and balance of interests in China’s internet industry, following Beijing’s release of a draft antitrust guideline in November.

“We think the new antitrust consultation paper is supportive of the healthy development of the internet … and helps promote fair competition within the industry,” said Wang Xing, co-founder and chief executive of Meituan, in a conference call with analysts after the market closed on Monday. “As internet platforms become bigger and more important to the economy, regulatory frameworks will also evolve.”

His comments come after Meituan reported third-quarter financial results that beat market estimates, as the domestic economy continued to recover amid increased consumer spending and the steady

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Apple, others seek to obscure sensitive data in Google antitrust suit

Apple and a number of major tech companies asked a federal judge overseeing the Google antitrust case to hide sensitive information from prying eyes — namely Google.

The companies asked Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to designate certain data used in the Justice Department case as “highly confidential,” reports Reuters.

A protective order would disallow Google employees from viewing private business contracts and other sensitive information that might be divulged in the process of trying the lawsuit. Apple, for example, already disclosed terms of its relationship with Google and expects to be asked for additional information.

The government could request documents pertaining to deals with competing search engines, including internal discussions at Apple regarding negotiation tactics, the report said. Access to Apple’s data could put the iPhone maker at a disadvantage when forging future deals with Google.

Other

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Apple to AT&T Wary of Full Disclosure in Google Antitrust Case

(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. and other technology companies said confidential material they provided for the U.S. government’s antitrust probe of Alphabet Inc.’s Google should not be shared with the search giant’s in-house lawyers because the information is too sensitive.



a close up of a laptop computer: The Google Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. laptop computer in this arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, July 19, 2019. Alphabet Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 25.


© Bloomberg
The Google Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. laptop computer in this arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, July 19, 2019. Alphabet Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 25.

In a filing Friday in federal court in Washington, Apple said it gave the U.S. Justice Department “competitively sensitive” documents and that allowing lawyers inside Google to see the information would result in “material harm” to Apple. A similar joint filing was made by Amazon.com Inc., AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., Comcast Corp., Sonos Inc., Duck Duck Go Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc.

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EU auditors: Antitrust probes too slow to curb tech giants

A report says that the EU’s efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness

Legal tools available to the bloc’s competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept pace with digital markets, allowing Silicon Valley giants to eliminate rivals, said the report by the European Court of Auditors, which examined the EU’s enforcement of competition rules over the past decade.

European Union authorities have been at the forefront of global efforts to bring the tech giants to heel but they’ve been criticized for lengthy investigations that have resulted in

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Facebook’s purchases of WhatsApp, Instagram target of likely antitrust case

As the state and federal probes enter their final phases, investigators have explored how Instagram and WhatsApp changed in the years after Facebook purchased them, according to the three people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a law enforcement proceeding. Government antitrust watchdogs have weighed whether to contend in lawsuits that these transactions have left users with worse services — and fewer privacy protections — than they might have had if the companies had remained independent, the sources said.

With the text-messaging service WhatsApp, in particular, Facebook had promised users that it would preserve the messaging company’s independence and strong privacy protections when it was purchased in 2014. It made the same commitment to regulators, who then gave a greenlight to the deal. But Facebook reversed course years later and has sought to integrate its users’ data with the social networking site’s other

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Apple Halves App Store Commission For Small Developers Amidst Antitrust Scrutiny

Topline

Apple will slash its App Store commission rate for small developers on its platform by half — from 30% of all revenue earned to 15% — starting next year, a move that seems like a partial concession as the company tries to ward off antitrust scrutiny of its digital store amidst a high profile legal battle with video game publisher Epic Games.

Key Facts

The reduced fee will only be applicable to sales from companies that generate less than $1 million in revenue from all their apps on Apple’s store, including in-app purchases, the company announced in a press statement.

According to the company, a “vast majority” of app developers on Apple’s platform will be able to access the so-called “App Store Small Business Program” but did not offer any specifics.

The move, however,

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