46 states and FTC file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook | YouTube to remove content that alleges widespread election fraud

Forty-six state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday filed lawsuits against Facebook, accusing the social media giant of anti-competitive acquisitions.

The lawsuit from states — led by New York’s Letitia James (D), who is joined by 45 other attorneys general — alleges Facebook sought to maintain its monopoly power by acquiring potential rivals, including WhatsApp and Instagram, and that it has stifled innovation by cutting off platform services to competitors.

The lawsuit was joined by the attorneys general for Washington, D.C. and Guam. The states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota were the only ones not involved with the lawsuits.

The legal action by such a broad coalition puts Facebook firmly in the antitrust hot seat following similar bipartisan criticisms from lawmakers in Congress.

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users,” James said in a statement. “Today, we are taking action to stand up for the millions of consumers and many small businesses that have been harmed by Facebook’s illegal behavior.”

The lawsuit seeks relief that includes the potential unwinding of Facebook’s purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram, moves that could lead to the first court-ordered breakup of a major U.S. company in years.

Facebook has emphasized that both acquisitions were approved by regulators at the time.