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Facebook antitrust probes will target acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, report says

State and federal officials are reportedly preparing to bring antitrust charges against the social network.

Angela Lang/CNET

A group of state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, is on track to file antitrust charges against Facebook in early December, according to a report Thursday from the Washington Post. The move comes as the US Federal Trade Commission is also reportedly finalizing its antitrust probe into the social media giant.

State and federal investigators plan to bring antitrust charges against Facebook over its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, alleging that the deals "helped create an anti-competitive social networking juggernaut," according to the Post. Investigators may also reportedly argue that Facebook weaponized its vast trove of user data to help quash rivals. 

More than 40 attorneys general have joined the probe into Facebook. The investigation, which was announced in September, focuses on Facebook's dominance and potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that position.

The FTC is also reportedly entering the final phases of its investigation, which is separate from the states' probe, and could file charges by the end of the year. The FTC case is part of a larger US antitrust investigation into tech companies. 

Facebook and the office for NY AG Letitia James didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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