U.S. antitrust officials and a coalition of states sued Facebook Inc. for allegedly violating antitrust laws, the second time in less than two months the government has brought a monopoly case against an American technology giant.
The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general led by New York said they filed an antitrust complaint against Facebook on Wednesday.
The case is the culmination of an investigation that began last year and represents the biggest regulatory attack against Facebook in the company’s history. If the FTC and the states are successful in proving Facebook violated antitrust laws, a judge could order the breakup of the company, including separating its main social media platform from Instagram and WhatsApp.
The Facebook case comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s October complaint against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for allegedly abusing its monopoly in internet search by using exclusive distribution agreements with phone manufacturers to lock out competitors from the market. Together, the Google and Facebook cases mark the most significant monopoly cases filed in the U.S. since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in 1998.
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