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Google and Facebook Sued for Antitrust Violations in the U.S

Publications / Dec 31, 2020

Article written by Haim Ravia, Dotan Hammer and Adi Shoval

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) together with 11 states filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing it of engaging in anti-competitive practices to preserve its monopolistic power. One of the practices alleged against Google is signing exclusive agreements with companies like Apple, Samsung, and LG to ensure Google’s search engine is the default engine in their devices.

Shortly after the DOJ’s lawsuit was announced, two additional lawsuits were filed against the company by dozens of other states in the U.S. accusing the company of violating US antitrust law by signing a secret agreement with Facebook, a major competitor of Google in the online ads market, according to which Facebook will be given priority in Google’s auctions for advertisers. The company was also accused of arranging the search results so that it downplayed results of search services for information in specialized areas like home repair services and travel reviews.

Google is not the only tech giant facing legal woes. Facebook has also been dealing with accusations of anti-competitive practices. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 48 states in the U.S. filed a lawsuit against the company accusing it of preserving its monopolistic power by purchasing its competitors Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook is also alleged to have added contractual terms obligating developers who wish to use Facebook’s API to not compete with Facebook’s services.

The FTC and plaintiff states are seeking remedies that would allow greater oversight of Facebook and would restore the competition in the social networks space. The reliefs sought include divestiture of Facebook’s assets, including WhatsApp and Instagram, in a way that would restore competition; obligating Facebook to obtain approval from the FTC for any acquisition that may harm competition; obligating the company to obtain approval from the states for each acquisition valued at or over $10 million, and obligating Facebook to stop imposing API licensing conditions that restrict competition.

CLICK HERE to read the DOJ’s lawsuit against Google.

CLICK HERE to read the FTC’s lawsuit against Facebook.

CLICK HERE to read the states’ lawsuit against Facebook.