Posted 1 year ago | by Ben Armstrong

Antitrust Lawsuits Against Facebook

Facebook is facing a New York led antitrust investigation from 46 attorneys. It is very possible that this lawsuit will change the face of privacy and big tech forever. This news comes as Mark Zuckerberg prepares to speak on Capital Hill tomorrow regarding its proposed cryptocurrency Libra.

Many states have joined the probe & many others may still join, but have yet to declare a claim. People everywhere including lawmakers & attorneys are starting to wake up to the reality that Facebook has put consumers at risk. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), the specific accusations that are being levied against Facebook are that they "may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers' choices, and increased the price of advertising."

To put that in laymen's terms that any Facebook user or business page owner can understand, basically Facebook has jeopardized consumer privacy & limited what users experience on the platform in order to increase their own revenue.

For instance, Facebook has made it more difficult for Facebook business pages to reach people who "Like" their page. The effect is that businesses will therefore spend money out of their advertising budget on Facebook ads to replace the traction they used to get organically on Facebook.

Facebook-owned company Instagram has made many changes over the last year that also seem to be pushing Instagram down the same path. Users on Instagram can no longer follow what their friends "Like" or comment on in the photo app.

There have been many discussions surrounding Instagram removing follower accounts & no longer displaying the number of "Likes" a photo or video gets. This has already been started in some countries, but has not moved to the United States yet.

The goal of these actions seem to be in order to remove the burgeoning career of "Influencers." If businesses can no longer turn to organic accounts owned by individuals to market then they will be forced to turn to Instagram advertising.

While Facebook is a privately owned business, the antitrust accusations make it clear that Facebook has misled its users and business customers on its practices.

One of the ways that Facebook & Instagram punish users on their apps is the "shadow ban". This practice is where users are under the impression that their content is being seen by others, but secretly it is blacklisted so that the number of people who see their posts is vastly diminished.

Last year, Mark Zuckerberg claimed that a "shadow ban" does not exist. However, in this video by Crypto Playhouse, it is very clear that Instagram does use shadow bans.

Along with manipulating users' feeds to get a desired result, Facebook also has jeopardized user accounts through privacy breaches. Of course, the most famous being the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. As the value of data continues to climb, Facebook has a responsibility to keep all user data private and safe. And the fact is they have done neither.

This lawsuit has the ability to completely change standards in privacy & the way social media operates.