‘It’s Hard to Prove’: Why Antitrust Suits Against Facebook Face Hurdles

The U.S. and state cases against the social network are far from a slam dunk because the standards of proof are formidable.

When the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states sued Facebook on Wednesday for illegally killing competition and demanded that the company be split apart, lawmakers and public interest groups applauded.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said, “Facebook’s reign of unaccountable, abusive practices against consumers, competitors and innovation must end.” Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, called the lawsuits “a necessity” and said Facebook’s acquisitions of nascent rivals “were meant to be anti-competitive, and they should be broken up.”

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Also see:

The Facebook Lawsuits Explained: Regulators accuse Facebook of buying up rivals. Here’s what this means for us and Big Tech.
WELP, Wednesday was intense. The U.S. government and more than 40 states sued Facebook for illegally crushing competitors and demanded the company undo its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

This is going to be a noisy and long legal mess, as my colleagues Cecilia Kang and Mike Isaac wrote in their article. Let me try to help us understand what’s happening by posing five questions:

Government’s antitrust case against Facebook seeks a villain in Mark Zuckerberg
Anyone who still thinks of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg as the awkward Harvard undergrad portrayed in “The Social Network” — sneaky and ambitious, sure, but also longing for human connection — might be startled to encounter the bare-knuckled operator portrayed in a pair of government lawsuits filed Wednesday.

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