State attorneys general will appeal dismissal of Facebook antitrust suit

'We must hold Facebook accountable,' New York AG Letitia James said.

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The logo of Facebook is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. Picture taken January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

The antitrust lawsuit brought by 48 attorneys general against Facebook isn't dead yet. A federal judge dismissed the suit last month, but the AGs have filed a notice of plan to appeal.

“We filed this notice of appeal because we disagree with the court’s decision and must hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation, and cutting privacy protections,” New York’s attorney general Letitia James said, according to The New York Times. “We can no longer allow Facebook to profit off of exploiting consumer data.”

The suit, which was filed in December, alleged that Facebook created a monopoly and illegally stifled competition through its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Judge James E. Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that too much time had gone by since the mergers were approved for the case to proceed.

On the same day he dismissed the AGs' suit, Boasberg tossed a similar case from the Federal Trade Commission. The agency is expected to file an amended suit next month.

The FTC lawsuit was initially filed in December while Trump administration appointee Joseph Simons led the agency. Big Tech critic Lina Khan was appointed FTC chair last month. Facebook has asked the agency to recuse her from antitrust decisions involving the company.

Facebook has argued against both suits, claiming much of the evidence in the cases was submitted to the FTC before the purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were rubberstamped. It also claims it doesn't have a monopoly, partly due to competition from the likes of Snap and Twitter, as well as messaging apps.

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