back to article Facebook crushed rivals to maintain an illegal monopoly, the entire United States yells in Zuckerberg’s face

Facebook illegally crushed its competition and continues to do so to this day to maintain its monopoly, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the attorneys general of no fewer than 46 US states plus Guam and DC. The lawsuit alleges that the social media giant “illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll never happen but wouldn't it be nice to see the wheels finally come off Zucks truck

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I would say that it might make WhatsApp acceptable to use if it weren’t part of chavbook. But I’m sick of all the fragmentation - Telegram for this. Discord for that, WhatsApp for something else, Messenger for... etc.

      A core set of functionality should be exposed as an api so these comms can be consolidated into a single channel .

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Heretic, off with your head. Next you'll be arguing for open standards, net neutrality and against the fragmentation of the internet into private networks. How is any self respecting robber baron going to make a profit from that. Or, for that mater, how is any state dictator going to corral it's proles if they can slip outside of the state apparatus quiet so easily. Pah, idealists, what would you do with them...

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        @werdsmith

        At least some cross platform interoperability would be nice, so that we can all play together whatever flavour of app we have.

        That will never happen as long as the likes of Zuck and his contemporaries all insist it is their ball and and we can only play under their rules.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          what happens to "some cross-platform interoperability"

          FriendFeed had similar ideas, but it was bought by... guess who?... Facebook...

    2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Open up not break up

      It should not be so much about breaking up facebook services but rather about forcing it to opening up to competing products though open standards.

      I want to be able to communicate with the grandparents, who are most comfortable with facebook, without being forced to use facebook. Effective competition is needed that does not force us into isolated social silos.

  2. Khaptain

    Twitter next please

    If they can take down Twitter as well the world would regain some sanity......

    The online world appears to have become a very risky business where the slightest faux pas can lead to your untimely demise and this is where FB and Twitter thrive... They make money whilst encouraging nastiness, it's basically the Roman Arena scenario, the throwing of a miserable soul into the lion's den whilst the public applaud... The power of the "Like " button, again, just like the Arena spectators... Jules Caesars power of the thumb...

    These kinds of social media have become extremely negative... they no longer provide a service, they appear to evolved into a public means of destruction..

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Twitter next please

      Twitter is redundant and filled with crap.

      Is the Internet dumpster.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Twitter next please

        Yes. Toxic. Like chavbook and many other popular social media channels.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The power of the "Like " button,

      I agree!

      But, but, ... would it be philosophically consistent to upvote you for making that point? :-)

      1. Khaptain

        Re: The power of the "Like " button,

        "But, but, ... would it be philosophically consistent to upvote you for making that point? :-)"

        That would be a question for Schrodingers Cat, if it is still alive ;-)

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: The power of the "Like " button,

          The cat said go ahead and upvote.

          Or did it?

  3. Mark Exclamation

    Here's how this will end: They will settle out of court with FB agreeing to pay $10billion, but everyone will agree to $150million if it is paid within 14 days. So, no change here.

  4. Pu02
    Big Brother

    A bought sycophant might want to see everything getting in their way as fair justification for revising history, but all the USGov is doing is holding yet another antisocial cult to account for breaking public trust in more ways than Gomorrah.

    You can yell "Whatsapp only became the product it is today because of what FB invested", but world+dog knows the opposite is the case- it was everything it needed to be to everyone (except FB) when the Zuck descended: Users were quite happy, the subscriber base growing healthily, and feature-set was class-leading. That's right, 99% of the features ppl use today were in it by the time the Zuck threw wads of his investor's cash at it, and the the world knows because it was already using them by then.

    However with the malfeasance, data-slurping and ad-pumping going on now, plus an expanding memory, code, battery and resource footprint, even non-tech WhatsApp users know they better get off and delete the wretched app, like they did FB's bloated 'sharer of all things meta and more'-FB Messenger. Like they knew they should have before their personal info is used/abused, and/or sold, be it for 'lolz' or 'Dols'.

    1. veti Silver badge

      I hate to say it, but Facebook's counsel does make a good point. The FCC already heard all these arguments about WhatsApp and the other thing, and dismissed them. Facebook has by now spent billions of dollars on the basis that WhatsApp belongs to it. It does seem unreasonable to say "no, we got that wrong, and now we're going to punish you for our fuckup".

      Of course that doesn't address all the complaints. But it's a good point that needs addressing. Why did the FCC do its job so badly, and doesn't it now owe something to those who have built businesses and careers on the basis of its previous decision?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        FCC wasn't the right venue. FTC would be, but for some reason they didn't act... they actually ALLOWED the acquisitions in the FIRST place!!!

      2. chr0m4t1c

        Billions on WhatsApp you say?

        For _who's_ benefit?

        It's not the people using it, the features have remained largely unchanged since they acquired it. It took them something like two years to create a "dark mode" FFS.

        So either they spaffed it on a rubbish dev team or they did stuff under the hood to benefit Facebook. Either way: Tough.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online shit-show

    Avoid

    Don’t use

    Don’t click

    Don’t share

    Avoid

  6. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    I'd pay a dollar for that

    As was whatsapp original business model, and I would have been happy to pay.

  7. Tim99 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    OK, we were warned...

    Quote: Software Freedom Law Center - Eben Moglen, Feb 10, 2010.

    Enter Mr. Zuckerberg [24:00]: “The human race has susceptibility to harm but Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record. He has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age. Because he harnessed Friday night, that is, ‘Everybody needs to to get laid,’ and turned into a structure for degenerating the integrity of human personality and he has to remarkable extent succeeded with a very poor deal, namely ‘I will give you free web-hosting and some PHP doodads and you get spying for free all the time’. And it works...

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Ultimately the enablers for Chavbook are the vacuous dorks that are addicted to puerile drivel and likes. People that use the bullshit excuse that it’s the only way to stay in touch. This is a pathetic excuse and just weakness and laziness. For the good of the world, dump it and communicate like a human.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      re: For the good of the world, dump it and communicate like a human.

      By posting comments on articles on the internet?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: re: For the good of the world, dump it and communicate like a human.

        Yes, I guess I did invite the straw man.

        But if you do need more explanation, the excuse is “ I need faaaacebeuk to stay in touch with family and friends and see their photos”.

        Not random comments about stuff.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many US states?

    Sorry, and I know I should email the corrections, but I'm at work so no playing on email for me. The articles starts by saying that the attorneys general of 46 states (plus Washington DC and Guam) have launched the lawsuit, but ends by claiming that only two states have not joined in. So is it 46 or 48 states? Or is this an American "only the joined-up-states count as proper ones" in-joke I'm too foreign to understand?

    1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

      Re: How many US states?

      I have reviewed the complaint. The plaintiffs are Guam and DC (not states, obviously) and all 50 states EXCEPT Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota.

      The Attorneys-General of all four states that did not join the action are Republican. One of them, Jason Ravnsborg of SD, killed a man three months ago because he was "distracted" while driving. He left the scene and later borrowed the personal car of the local sheriff to return home - highly irregular. A police investigation is ongoing.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: How many US states?

        I doubt political party affiliation had anything to do with this. Personal opinion, maybe, but doing a "me too" response isn't necessary for EVERYTHING coming down the pike. Sometimes that kind of pile-on simply demonstrates a lot of gutless knee-jerk reactions...

        Still, if I were them, I'd have joined in, if for no other reason than to represent the interests of the people in that state, as long as doing so would in some way improve the chance of the case being successful at putting a stop to "big tech". (and last I checked I registered 'Republican')

        But if a "pile on" effect in some way EMPOWERS THE DEFENSE, and becomes a "hoist by one's own petard" situation, it's best to just stay out of it, or do your OWN lawsuit.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I don't know when last I was on fartbook.

    And whenever somebody send me a fartbook link, I just cringe and ignore it. Not in the mood for it.

    $Wife is also the same. She's off fartbook, and we don't miss it at all. Aw shame, poor Zuck.

  11. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Unsurprising

    Dear USA,

    If you continue to ignore protection for consumers and to allow Corporations to do what they like, allow billions to be spent on lobbying, hire Corp Giant staff into government this is what you get.

    Loads of people warned that Facebook was lying about the takeover plans.

    Facebook takeovers

    Alphabet/Google takeovers

    Amazon takeovers

    Oh, and fix the totally broken USPTO, kill DMCA and outlaw DRM and roll back copyright laws to the Berne Convention treaty as it was in the 1960s or 1970s. Patents, Registered Designs/Design Patents, Trademarks and Copyright are just weapons in the arsenal of huge Corporations able to spend millions on lawyers, not about protecting real IP or ensuring income for the creator. Disney is one of the worst

    Building a monopoly of visual culture and not even meeting obligations. Hypocrisy as one of the biggest lobbyists to keep increasing copyright terms.

    Corporate USA got out of control at the end of the Victorian era. The Franchise parasite sucking money out of countries to offshore. Ignoring privacy. Ignoring laws, especially outside the USA. Cultural Imperialism and unconscious racism too.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Unsurprising

      Corporate USA got out of control at the end of the Victorian era.

      That's a fact from history, "Robber Barons" vs Teddy Roosevelt, etc.. I think the reforms that came about have worked ok, but additional reforms would be welcomed. Over-regulation, though, certainly not.

      Unfortunately, FTC and other regulators fell asleep at the wheel (or were maybe "influenced" to look elsewhere) when it comes to "Big Tech".

      1. Hollerithevo

        Re: Unsurprising

        I was thinking that this was very much like the 1890s/early 1900s, when muckrakers got busy exposing huge abuses by big corporations and trusts began to be busted. Monopolies are not a wholly American thing, but they are strangely dominant throughout its history, from the upper classes making sure that the lower classes were cut from access to land* (see the gentlemen vs farmers in early Tennessee) to now. Adam Smith pointed out that all capitalism tends naturally to clump into monopolies, and that only government regulation can force them to compete on a level playing field. It is the triumph of American corporate interests that they have convinced their victims that their own freedom to create monopolies serves their victims best.

        *I am aware that the land wasn't empty and no there for the taking.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Unsurprising

          Sure the land was just there for the taking. See ‘aborigines’ in the Devil’s Dictionary. http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com/a.html

          1. First Light Silver badge

            Re: Unsurprising

            Not in Tennessee it wasn't. In fact the Cherokees and other "Five Civilized Tribes" as they were known, who populated those parts, who wrote and read English and were educated, were forced out in the Trail of Tears to the western lands in the 1840's. It was a disgusting land grab.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Unsurprising

              Citing the Devil's Dictionary ought to be adequate warning that the author is being sarcastic.

              I don't think dispossessing and removing members of the Five Civilized Tribes is inherently worse than similar actions against, say, the Iroquois Confederacy, or the Pueblos, or the Anishnaabe, or any of the other native peoples of the Americas. Or of anywhere else. All of those actions (and many others, such as forced assimilation, reneging on treaties, termination, BIA fraud, etc, etc) were reprehensible, and ranking them by how "civilized" the victims were is rather suspect.

  12. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Go

    To be honest, it seems easy enough to break them up. Facebook WhatsApp and Instagram hardly have any integration, do they? I mean, it could be that they share all the data in the back for ad purposes, but at least the products are not interdependent for the users.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      El Reg has been reporting these FB shite efforts for years.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        thankfully

    2. MJI Silver badge

      WhatsApp!

      When I saw that painfull line on the start screen I nearly deleted it, but need it for work.

      Free Whatsapp now!

  13. hoola Silver badge

    They don't give a stuff.

    Facebook, like Amazon, Google, Apple and the other "big tech" names have so much money that they can pretty much do what they want and just pay the fines. If, and it is a big if, this ends up with Facebook being split in to Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram again most of the damage has already been done. Just how to you make WhatsApp clean of all the data grabbing, privacy invading bits? Facebook itself will never change but the entire culture is in all these companies. They do what they want and regularly stick two fingers up at the regulators.

    The big US tech outfits, or those with money derived from it are just beyond any form of regulation. As another example, Tesla has cleared 91 hectares of forest in Germany for their factory before they had permission. They were told anything they did was at their risk, so naturally the have just gone ahead regardless. I really hope that with both these cases the authorities make a real example of them. Punitive fines, restitution, breakups of the companies and strict controls on future conduct. Maybe some form of licensing for Social Media/Messaging to be allowed to operate in countries that has to be renewed like broadcasting and can be revoked.

  14. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Facebook is very useful

    For instance, when I see that a job candidate has a Facebook account, I look for another one.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Facebook is very useful

      when I see that a job candidate has a Facebook account, I look for another one.

      There was an attempt a few years ago to convince people that if you did NOT have "social media" presence, you would NOT get hired. That was pure B.S. of course. I've had personal web sites since 1995 and had NO need to use Fa[e]ceb[ook,arph]'s platform for ANY reason, and would PROUDLY announce that fact if asked about FB[arph] in any kind of interview. I said it back then, when this nonsense first started circulating, and I STILL say it now [only louder].

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Facebook is very useful

        I admit I have very little idea what the IT job market is like these days (or, really, ever has been like), but I hope you're right that having social-media accounts isn't treated as a qualification.

        I have heard many reports of interviewers and HR representatives requesting access to candidates' accounts, which is a fine argument for not having them. I mean, I'd refuse such a request; but I have the luxury of doing that. Someone in a more-precarious financial situation might not.

  15. MJI Silver badge

    They are getting some flak from the gamers.

    A son has VR, in fact he has two.

    Guess what neither is FaceBookRift.

    One is HTC, the other PSVR.

    Has no Faecesbook account.

    Uses discord a lot.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022