US states ask appeals court to reinstate Facebook lawsuit


A large group of US states, led by New York, argued Monday in an appeals court that it should reinstate an antitrust suit against Meta’s Facebook over the ongoing damage from the company’s actions and because the states hadn’t waited too long to file their complaint. to serve.

Barbara Underwood, New York Solicitor General who led the group which consists of 46 states, Guam and District of Columbia, said it was wrong to treat states as a class action and put a limit on when they can sue. States not involved are Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota.

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She said the state’s action was more akin to law enforcement, so “laches,” which prohibits an unreasonable delay in filing, would not apply.

She said Facebook’s actions are hurting the economy and the market.

The states are asking the three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reinstate a lawsuit filed in 2020, at the same time the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was suing the company.

Both the FTC and the states had asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014. The FTC battle with Facebook continues.

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Aaron Panner argued for Facebook, which had managed to dismiss the state lawsuit, arguing that the two acquisitions were well known at the same time, as were the company’s policies regarding third-party apps. Facebook is accused of punishing apps on its platform that, for example, connect to other social networks.

He said laughs should apply because the state case was more of a class action and less law enforcement, and that the actions described “came years ago and didn’t raise antitrust issues at the time.”

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Judge Raymond Randolph asked who Facebook’s competitors were and noted news articles that the company had struggled to retain younger users.

Pointing to the popularity of TikTok, Twitter and others, Panner added, “Sometimes facts that are good for an antitrust defense are bad for (a) business.”

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