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U.S. government and 48 states seek to pry Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp in massive antitrust action

In what may be the most consequential U.S. antitrust action in years, the U.S. government and 48 state attorneys general have filed suit against Facebook, asking that the social media giant sell off its WhatsApp messaging app and the social photo platform Instagram.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has in the past spoken of such a remedy as an “existential” threat to his company.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the state AGs charge that Facebook has become a powerful monopoly through its practice of buying up competing services.

“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,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

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