Nearly Every State Is Investigating Facebook For Potential Antitrust Violations

Topline: New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday that 47 states are now investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations, ramping up the legal pressure on the social network as bipartisan calls to break up Big Tech continue to grow.

  • When the investigation was first announced in September, only nine states had signed on.
  • Now nearly every state in the country is investigating the social media giant.
  • California, where Facebook is based, has not publicly said that it has joined. A spokesperson for Xavier Becerra, the state’s attorney general, declined to comment.

Crucial quote: “Our investigation now has the support of 47 attorneys general from around the nation, who are all concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, and increased the price of advertising,” James said in a press release.

Key background: Facebook is already facing federal antitrust investigations from the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and Congress.

News peg: As tech companies grow and become an ever-present force in the lives of users, calls for Big Tech to be broken up are coming from both sides of the aisle. Regulators may be looking at Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions, and Facebook also faces separate criticism for facilitating the spread of misinformation and propaganda around elections.

Tangent: The scope of the multistate investigation into Facebook is similar to that of Google, which is subject to a probe from 50 state attorneys general. 

Further reading: Here is a full list of states that have signed on.