Report: Facebook Offered to Help Launch Rival Social Network to Prevent Antitrust Lawsuits

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CNBC reports that before federal and state investigators filed antitrust lawsuits against social media giant Facebook in federal court this month, the company’s lawyers reached out to investigators with an offer aimed at fostering competition and avoiding the incoming lawsuits.

Facebook reportedly told the investigators that it was willing to help a new social media network launch by licensing its own code and users’ webs of relationships to another firm. Investigators declined the offer but the situation illustrates just how much Facebook was willing to hand over in order to avoid an antitrust lawsuit.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the offer but told the Washington Post: “We will continue to vigorously defend the ability of people and businesses to choose our free services, advertising, and apps because of the value they bring.”

Breitbart News recently reported that a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week claims that Google and Facebook agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they were ever to face an investigation into their deal to work together in online advertising.

The suit cites heavily redacted internal company documents as proof of this claim. The Wall Street Journal states that it was able to review part of a recent draft version of the suit without redactions that elaborated on findings and allegations in the court documents.

Ten Republican attorneys general, led by Texas, claim that the tech giants developed a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s online advertising tools in exchange for special treatment when Facebook used the tools. Google reportedly used language from the film series Star Wars as a code name for the deal according to the lawsuit, which redacted the actual name. The draft version of the suit refers to the deal as “Jedi Blue.”