Explainer: Where does Big Tech stand against U.S. lawsuits

Big tech platforms Facebook and Google have been hit with a series of antitrust lawsuits by the U.S. federal government and states on charges they are operating monopolies and abusing their power.

Apple and Amazon are also under scrutiny by the Department of Justice.

Here’s where the cases stand.

1/FACEBOOK

There are currently two lawsuits against Facebook.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a new complaint against the social media company in mid-August 2021. It adds more detail on the accusation that Facebook crushed or bought rivals.

The FTC is asking a judge to force the social media giant to sell Instagram – which it bought in 2012 for $1 billion – and WhatsApp – which it bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

The agency's original complaint filed in December failed to provide evidence that Facebook had monopoly power in the social-networking market.

Facebook said it would continue to fight the lawsuit.

2/GOOGLE

There are currently four lawsuits against Google.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued Google in October, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals.

A similar lawsuit brought by 38 U.S. states and territories accuses Google of abusing its market power to try to make its search engine dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in phones.

This case was consolidated with the federal lawsuit for discovery purposes.

Texas filed a separate lawsuit accusing Google of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business.

And dozens of state attorneys general sued the platform in July, alleging it bought off competitors and used restrictive contracts to maintain a monopoly for its app store on Android phones.

3/APPLE

A U.S. Justice Department probe into Apple appears to focus on its app store.

Some developers have accused the company of introducing new products very similar to existing apps created by other developers and sold in the Apple's app store, and then tried to banish the older apps from the store because they compete with Apple’s new product.

The iPhone maker says it seeks to have only the highest-quality apps in the app store.

4/AMAZON

In July 2019, the DOJ said it was expanding Big Tech probes to include “search, social media, and some retail services online” – an apparent reference to Amazon as well as Facebook.

The FTC is also looking at the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform.

This probe includes allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.

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