40 state attorneys general to take part in Facebook antitrust probe: report

About 40 state attorneys general will participate in an antitrust investigation of Facebook led by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing three people familiar with the matter.

In September, James had announced an investigation with seven other states and the District of Columbia into whether the social media giant has “endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

The three people who spoke to the Post said the larger inquiry is still confidential, and that New York could enlist further states before the probe is formally announced.

James and other attorneys general met Monday with Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission officials to discuss Facebook.

Asked for comment, Facebook referred the Post to a previous statement from Will Castleberry, the company’s vice president for state and local policy, saying the company would “work constructively with state attorneys general and we welcome a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which we operate.”

The report comes shortly after a recording was published in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that if Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) becomes president, he predicted a federal antitrust investigation into the social media company, saying that while he was confident Facebook would prevail in such a lawsuit, it would still “suck for us.”

“I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government,” Zuckerberg said in the recording. “I mean, that’s not the position that you want to be in when you’re, you know, I mean … it’s like, we care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

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