For Immediate Release:
Friday, January 14, 2022
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today appealed a district court’s decision to dismiss his lawsuit against Facebook, now known as Meta. Attorney General Stein is part of the Facebook executive committee, and his lawsuit alleged that the company used its monopoly power to buy competitors and cut services to others to maintain its monopoly. Attorney General Stein and 48 other attorneys general argue that the court’s decision to dismiss the case as time-barred was in error and that the court made additional legal and factual errors.
“In the months since I originally sued Facebook, we’ve learned even more about how it’s harming people – especially our kids,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It gets away with it because the company’s gotten so big and powerful that it is able to shut down competition and innovation that would create a fairer marketplace and better protect consumers. But no company, no matter how big and powerful, should be able to take away consumer’s privacy and choices or damage their mental health. North Carolinians deserve the benefits of a competitive tech industry, and I’m going to keep fighting to protect consumers.”
Over the last decade, the office alleges, Facebook illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut or conditioned services to smaller threats — depriving users of the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue. In December 2020, the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct. The company filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted by the court last summer. Today’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asks the court to allow the coalition of attorneys general to move forward with their suit.
Separately, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also filed an amended complaint against Facebook in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In a ruling earlier this week, the court denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss the FTC’s complaint, allowing the FTC to proceed.
Attorney General Stein is joined in today’s appeal by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the territory of Guam.
A copy of the brief is available here.