© Reuters. The meta logo seen in this illustration was taken, August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A large group of U.S. states, led by New York, argued with an appeals court on Monday that they should reinstate an antitrust lawsuit against Meta’s Facebook (NASDAQ:) because of the continued harm from the company’s actions and because the states didn’t have to wait too long to file their complaints.
Barbara Underwood, the attorney general for New York, who leads a group that includes 46 states, Guam and the District of Columbia, said it was wrong to treat the states as a class action and put a limit on how long they can start. to sue. The states that did not participate were Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota.
She said the states’ actions were more like law enforcement, so the “laches,” which prohibit unreasonable delays in filing, would not apply.
She said Facebook’s actions hurt the economy and markets.
The states are asking the three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reinstate the case filed in 2020, around the same time the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued the company.
Both the FTC and the states have asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014. The FTC’s battle with Facebook is still going on.
Arguing for Facebook, which succeeded in getting rid of the state lawsuit, Aaron Panner argued that the two acquisitions were both public at the same time, as were the company’s policies regarding the app. third party. Facebook has been accused of punishing applications on its platform, such as connections to other social networks.
He said the lawsuits should apply because the state’s lawsuit is more of a class action and less law enforcement action, and that the actions described “happens many years ago and did not raise antitrust concerns at the time.”
Judge Raymond Randolph asked who Facebook’s competitors were and noted reports that the company had struggled to retain young users.
Panner points to the popularity of TikTok, Twitter (NYSE:) and others, adding: “Sometimes what’s good for antitrust protection isn’t good for (a) business.”