At the time when the economic and social power of social media has become a major political issue, one of the pioneers of the field, Facebook, faces antitrust lawsuits that challenge its business model. One of the lawsuits is the work of the attorneys general of 46 of America’s 50 states, plus their counterparts in the District of Columbia and Guam.
The only four states whose attorneys general did not sign on to this lawsuit are: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
The state complaint alleges that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had a systematic plan to eliminate competition. “If you stepped into Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark.'”
Facebook responded to the filing of the lawsuit with the following statement, “People and small businesses don’t choose to use Facebook’s free services because they have to, they use them because our apps and services deliver the most value.”
The Thing to Know:
One of the pressing concerns behind the lawsuits is that Facebook’s near-monopoly status gives it the power to collect and sell a lot of information from and about its users, undermining privacy interests.