Prominent Leaders Voice Strong Support for AG James's Lawsuit Against Facebook’s Illegal Monopoly

Federal, State, and Community Leaders, and Scholars Across New York
and Nation Praise Fight Against Anticompetitive Conduct

NEW YORK – After New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit yesterday against Facebook for illegally stifling competition to protect its monopoly power, elected and community leaders across New York and the United States came out and expressed their support for the lawsuit.

Federal Leaders

“Numerous reports have brought Facebook’s long history of anti-competitive behavior to light,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN). “The company’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp have made the social media landscape less competitive and worse for users. Big technology companies like Facebook should not have free reign to impose their will on the market, and they must be held accountable when they attempt to do so. I’m glad the FTC and state enforcers are taking action to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior.”

“Facebook’s reign of unaccountable, abusive practices against consumers, competitors and innovation must end today,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT). “For too long, Facebook has avoided real competition through anticompetitive acquisitions, unchecked power over consumers, and the failure of federal antitrust enforcers to take action. The Federal Trade Commission and the state attorneys general’s cases against Facebook should set a new standard for how we fight back against entrenched corporate power. The case against Facebook is clear and compelling — competition has been stifled, innovation has suffered, and consumers have been harmed.”

“For nearly two years now, I’ve been calling to break up Big Tech — including Facebook,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA). “I’d said before that the purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram should never have been approved and need to be reversed. Today, the FTC and 48 states agreed. Facebook is doing pretty well right now. They've acquired potential competitors WhatsApp and Instagram. More than 85 percent of all social networking traffic goes through sites owned or operated by Facebook. They've got a lot of power — and face little competition or accountability. And they’ve wielded that power over everything — over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation. I want a government that makes sure everybody — even the biggest and most powerful companies in America — plays by the rules. And I want to make sure that the next generation of great American tech companies can flourish. More competition means more options for consumers and content creators, and more pressure on companies like Facebook to address the glaring problems with their businesses. Healthy competition can solve a lot of problems and it’s how we can protect the future of the Internet.”

“Rather than competing with Instagram and WhatsApp, it appears Facebook simply bought these firms to expand its dominance,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “As a result, Facebook has illegally maintained its monopoly, allowing it to engage in other abusive conduct. This should never have happened in the first place, and accountability is long overdue. I applaud New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission for their efforts to promote competition by filing today’s complaints.”

“By breaking the rules to push out competition and dominate user data, Facebook has gamed the system to consolidate their own empire at the expense of consumers, small businesses, and our democracy,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07). “I salute Attorney General James for leading this lawsuit and harnessing the power of our judicial system to hold Facebook accountable and restore the heathy competition that our economy needs to promote equal opportunities.”

“Facebook is a monopoly. Its abuse of its dominance harms competition, innovation, and other businesses. In the absence of competition and accountability, Facebook has harmed people's privacy and allowed disinformation to flourish on its platform, threatening our democracy,” said House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (RI-01). “Facebook has broken the law. It must be broken up. I applaud the FTC and state attorneys general who are leading this effort. This marks a major step in our ongoing work to bring the tech industry's monopoly moment to an end.”

“Facebook is absolutely an out-of-control monopoly — one that has abused its market power to squash competition, manipulate democracies, and crush journalism,” said U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). “Thank you to New York Attorney General Letitia James for leading the way.”

New York State Leaders

"Monopolies harm consumers,” said State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “That was true of Standard Oil, it was true of the Bell System, and it's true of Facebook. I applaud Attorney General James for her leadership in this antitrust fight, and for organizing a broad, bi-partisan coalition of states' attorneys general to advance this monopoly-busting effort.”

“We have seen firsthand how Big Tech stifles competition, hampers innovation, and wields excessive power,” said State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Attorney General James' lawsuit is an important step forward, to be followed by the passage of my 21st Century Antitrust Act, which would greatly expand our regulatory authority over these corporate behemoths.”

Community Leaders

“Yesterday, the state attorneys general filed an antitrust case against Facebook that couldn’t have come at a more crucial time in our nation’s history,” said Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy, Open Markets Institute. “Facebook’s role as a gatekeeper of speech has had a devastating impact on the marketplace of ideas, the public sphere of debate, and our elections. Facebook has maintained its monopoly power not by outperforming competitive threats, but rather by muscling them out of the competition altogether or by buying them. The evidence that Facebook has violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act and Section 7 of the Clayton Act is overwhelming.”

“We are very pleased to see an overwhelming bipartisan group of states, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, bring a long-awaited case against Facebook for its blatant efforts to squash competition, both by buying out nascent competitors and by abusing its access to data about consumers,” said Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content. “Beyond the obvious harm to the news, entertainment, and advertising industries, Facebook’s anticompetitive behavior has had a subversive effect on democracy and public discourse around the world.”

“Attorney General Letitia James has built a watertight case and an historic bipartisan coalition of state and territorial enforcers to send a much-needed message: Facebook is not above the law,” said Sarah Miller, executive director, American Economic Liberties Project. “As the complaint makes clear, Facebook's dominance was not built through innovation, but through illegal acquisitions and brazenly anti-competitive conduct. This suit is an affirmation that leaders like Attorney General James are ready and willing to protect the public by enforcing the law against the world's most powerful corporations, including by pursuing structural remedies, and reinforces the critical role of antitrust in securing fair competition, promoting innovation, and protecting democracy from monopoly power.”

“The American Antitrust Institute applauds New York and the broad coalition of states for their unified, bipartisan support for strong antitrust enforcement against Facebook,” said Diana Moss, president, American Antitrust Institute. “This action highlights the essential role of state enforcement, delivering the message that the attorneys general will stand up for competition and consumers to protect our markets and the U.S. economy.”


“This is an important lawsuit that raises significant concerns about the WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions, the abuse of tools that apps needed to connect with Facebook, and harm to consumers,” said Michael A. Carrier, distinguished professor, Rutgers Law School.

“The state and FTC antitrust complaints against Facebook are excellent and crisply state the relevant antitrust issues. This is going to be a fascinating, landmark case,” said Einer R. Elhauge, Carroll and Milton Petrie professor of law, Harvard University.”

“Facebook's anti-competitive behavior has resulted in a skyrocketing of non-economic costs for parents, citizens, and entrepreneurs,” said Scott Galloway, professor of marketing, New York University Stern School of Business. “There are few firms that have done this much damage, at this scale, this fast. Attorney General James’ lawsuit is a powerful step to restoring a healthier media ecosystem, and national dialogue.”

“Facebook’s idea that 'it is better to buy than compete' is totally contrary to the letter and spirit of antitrust laws,” said Scott Hemphill, Moses H. Grossman professor of law, New York University. “Dominant firms have to compete on the merits with innovative startups that are emerging rivals, not buy them up. This litigation is important to restore competition and protect innovation in social networking and beyond.”

“Facebook beat its early competitors by loudly promising to protect users’ privacy and personal information,” said Matthew Hindman, associate professor of media and public affairs, George Washington University. “This filing, by a broad bipartisan coalition, is an important first step toward reversing Facebook’s illegal bait-and-switch.”

“The lawsuit filed by 48 AGs is a landmark effort to ensure that antitrust laws are enforced in the digital age,” said Lina Khan, associate professor of law, Columbia University School of Law. “The states collected reams of evidence showing that Facebook engaged in a series of illegal acquisitions and business practices, designed to maintain its monopoly in violation of antitrust laws. Their work evinces a sophisticated understanding of digital markets and the harm that Facebook's monopolization has produced.”

“It is time — some might say past time — to address the undisputed power and alleged anticompetitive behavior of the tech giants,” said John B. Kirkwood, professor of law, Seattle University School of Law. “In October, the Justice Department and eleven states sued Google. Now, the FTC and forty-eight states have sued Facebook. Everyone knows that Facebook has enormous power. This action asserts that that power is monopoly power and that Facebook gained it, in part, through illegal tactics, including acquiring start-ups that would have challenged Facebook’s dominance. If these charges are true, Facebook has harmed users and advertisers, and some form of break-up has to be considered. These actions are important for consumers and competition.”

“Just two years ago, we wondered how our antitrust laws might hold our tech titans to account. In just a short span of time, we bridged that gap,” said Dina Srinivasan, author and fellow, Thurman Arnold Project at Yale University. “I am glad to see New York take a lead on Facebook. Its social network is still free, but Facebook has harmed people in other ways, including when it comes to their privacy.”

“Absolutely groundbreaking lawsuit led by Attorney General Letitia James, 48 states suing to break up Facebook for ‘buying and burying,’ illegally acquiring competitors in a predatory manner and cutting services to smaller competitive threats,” said Zephyr Teachout, author and professor, Fordham University’s School of Law. “What a great day for the future of the internet.”

“Attorney General James’ Facebook lawsuit is centered on the core gospel of the antitrust law: that acquiring or neutralizing your competitors is not a legal business model,” said Timothy Wu, Julius Silver professor of law, Columbia University School of Law. “The many, highly damning documents quoted make it clear that Facebook saw a path forward that depended on eliminating competitive threats, one way or another. As such, the complaint brings to life the legal phrase 'unlawful monopoly maintenance.'”