Show an ad over header. AMP

Federal regulators and states sue Facebook on antitrust grounds

State and federal antitrust enforcers accused Facebook of illegally hurting competition by buying smaller rivals and engaging in other harmful behavior in a pair of antitrust lawsuits Wednesday.

Why it matters: With Google already facing an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department and state attorneys general, the Facebook case is another major test of the government's power to police internet giants.


Details: The Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 state and territorial attorneys general in parallel lawsuits filed in federal court both say Facebook has maintained an illegal monopoly shored up by the 2012 purchase of Instagram and the 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp.

Catch up quick: Past acquisitions that helped turn Facebook into the juggernaut it is today have come under intense scrutiny, and Congressional antitrust leaders grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on them this summer.

  • The FTC has been studying past tech mergers to see if they need to be re-evaluated in light of how the industry has evolved, and Chairman Joe Simons has said he wouldn't rule out unwinding past mergers.

What they're saying: Facebook has argued consumers benefitted from those mergers, and that neither Instagram nor WhatsApp would be what it is today without Facebook at the helm.

The big picture: The flurry of antitrust activity in the online sector that began in 2019 is coming to fruition, but the cases will take time to go through court.

  • New York AG Letitia James announced the multi-state Facebook antitrust investigation that resulted in Wednesday's suit last year, shortly after Facebook revealed it was facing a separate FTC antitrust investigation.
  • Eleven Republican state AGs joined the DOJ's lawsuit against Google in October, while a separate state investigation of the search giant is expected to wrap up soon.

What's next: The Facebook cases will have to wind through court. With Joe Biden taking office next month, the FTC's case will ultimately be seen through by an agency with a different lineup of commissioners and a new chairperson.

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Keep reading... Show less

Why we need to know COVID's origins

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

Keep reading... Show less

Mexican Americans are the US largest Latino group but lack political power for their numbers

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less

A coronavirus vaccine passport to nowhere

Vaccine passports could become available soon to help people resume their livesbut theyface numerous scientific, social and political barriers to being accepted.

The big picture: Reliable and accessible proof of vaccine-induced protection from the novel coronavirus could speed international travel and economic reopening, but obstacles to its wide-scale adoption are so great it may never fully arrive.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening on extending unemployment insurance in the President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating for most of the day, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The deal allows Congress to move forward with voting on amendments to the bill, though it caused a massive delay in the 20-hour debate over the legislation.

Keep reading... Show less

Capitol review panel recommends boosting security with more police, mobile fencing

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Keep reading... Show less

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

Keep reading... Show less

Chamber of Commerce decides against widespread political ban following Capitol insurrection

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories