The schedule could still change, warned people familiar with the probe, adding that work was continuing.
In particular, state prosecutors are in the late stages of preparing their appeal, according to people. A fifth person, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, added that state investigators were trying to strengthen the initial list of participants by Friday. The bipartisan group has turned its attention to Facebook’s strategy of buying potential competitors, sometimes to acquire and kill them, according to two people.
The FTC, meanwhile, has not yet voted to file a lawsuit against Facebook, although some have said a meeting of its Democratic and Republican members this week ̵
A lawsuit against Facebook would be the second major antitrust action against Silicon Valley in a matter of weeks. The U.S. government joined 11 countries to sue Google on Tuesday over allegations that it engaged in illegal, anti-competitive tactics to secure the dominance of its search engine.
Facebook and the FTC declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the New York Attorney General.
Federal officials launched their antitrust investigation into Facebook last year after the company agreed to pay $ 5 billion to arrange a government inspection over a series of privacy scandals. The FTC, one of the country’s two competition agencies, has focused on Facebook’s acquisition of its former rivals – Instagram, a photo-sharing app and WhatsApp, a messaging service – and the extent to which the expanded corporate footprint the technology giant came to violate antitrust laws.
State investigators unveiled their own plans last October: James, New York’s attorney general, said at the time that she would lead 46 other states and territories in a bipartisan large-scale antitrust investigation targeting Facebook. James said in a statement at the time that government officials were “concerned that Facebook could put user data at risk, reduce the quality of consumer choice and increase the price of advertising.”
Since then, Facebook has faced widespread criticism from regulators across the country, who believe it has brazenly sought to expand its digital empire in a way that undermines competition and leaves its billions of users with poorer service, including less privacy protection. . A poll conducted by lawmakers earlier this month provided new evidence of the company’s brass tactics – illustrating to Congress members the extent to which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to castrate potential rivals before manage to create a serious challenge.
One note shows that Facebook leaders are discussing “land grabbing” to gain possible threats. Another 2018 document prepared for Zuckerberg suggests that Facebook feels that its biggest competition comes from its own ancillary applications. Investigators led by Representative David N. Sicillin (DR.I.), chairman of the House of Commons’s antitrust subcommittee, said the stockpile eventually showed how past Facebook purchases “tilted the social media market toward a monopoly.” .
Facebook firmly denied the allegations, citing the fact that federal regulators had a chance to prevent it from acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp, but did not. The company’s arguments portend the likelihood of a major, protracted legal battle between the technology giant and US and federal antitrust executors trying to impose harsh penalties on Facebook’s business practices.
“Acquisitions are part of every industry, and there is only one way we innovate new technologies to deliver more value to people,” Facebook spokesman Chris Sgro said in a statement this month in response to the legislators’ report. “Instagram and WhatsApp have reached new heights of success because Facebook invests billions in these businesses.”