WASHINGTON DC – The US Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of more than 40 states and territories sued Facebook on Wednesday, alleging the social media giant had illegally stifled competition by snapping up rivals to protect its monopoly power in social networking.

The joint actions focus on Facebook’s key acquisitions of Instagram, a photo-sharing service, and WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging app. The deals sealed Facebook’s dominance in social networking, the lawsuits contend.

“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, who led the state and territory action, said in a statement. “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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