A New York-led group of US states is investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant next week, four sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday.
The complaint would be the second major lawsuit against a big tech company this year. The Justice Department sued Google from Alphabet Inc. in October.
More than 40 states plan to join the lawsuit, a source said without naming it.
Facebook declined to comment.
A New York-led group of US states is investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant next week, four sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday
The Federal Trade Commission, whose commissioners met on Wednesday, was able to lodge a complaint with an administrative judge or a district court.
It's unknown what the states are planning to include in their complaint, but it will likely accuse Facebook of creating an anti-competitive social media giant by buying out its competitors
An allegation often made against Facebook is that it has tried strategically to buy small potential rivals, often at a high premium.
This includes Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.
The lawsuits are also likely to claim that Facebook left consumers with fewer social media options after purchasing the other companies.
According to the sources, the investigation is now in its final stages and has examined how Instagram and WhatsApp have changed since Facebook bought them in 2012 and 2014
In particular, the investigators are investigating whether Facebook offers consumers worse services and less data protection than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought and had remained independent.
The attorneys general opened the investigation last year, led by New York attorney general Letitia James.
Following news coverage of the Facebook investigation, James said in a statement, "We are not commenting on the details of an ongoing investigation, but as we have said, we will continue to use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine if Facebook is taking action to suppress it Competition, reduced choice, or endangered user data. & # 39;
The Federal Trade Commission, which is conducting a separate investigation into Facebook, recently spoke to state investigators about their case.
The commission approved Facebook's purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp.
In addition to New York, Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee and Utah are other leading states of the investigation.
In particular, the investigators are investigating whether Facebook offers consumers worse services and less data protection than if Whatsapp and Instagram had not been bought and had remained independent
The antitrust allegations against Facebook that are likely to be included in the lawsuits aren't new.
Lawmakers have raised the allegations repeatedly in recent Congressional hearings, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by lawmakers during a July hearing.
Facebook and Zuckerberg have repeatedly denied antitrust claims.
Last month, Senator Amy Klobuchar raised Facebook and his ownership of the other two social media companies during a censorship hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee with Zuckerberg involved.
A protester outside Mark Zuckerberg's house urged Facebook to stop spreading disinformation
Klobuchar brought up emails the Facebook founder sent before buying Instagram in 2014, in which he described the app as a competitor.
"I don't think we or anyone else saw Instagram as a competitor – a big, eclectic social platform," Zuckerberg said.
"In fact, people at the time mocked our acquisition because they thought we'd spent dramatically more than we should be on something that … was mostly a photo and camera sharing app."
Zuckerberg previously stated that TikTok's popularity is evidence that there is a competitive social media market.