By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s Attorney General says he’s hoping to break up Facebook in order to help Colorado companies grow. The tech giant says an antitrust lawsuit will only hurt small businesses that use the platform to connect with customers.

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“We want consumers to have a choice so that there are other social networking options out there to keep everyone, including Facebook, on their toes. When Facebook was on their toes, they provided a more privacy-friendly product. If Facebook has this dominant position, a mote if you will, that no one can challenge them, they don’t have to provide consumers with better services,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Weiser joins nearly every other Attorney General in the country and the Federal Trade Commission in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook on Wednesday.

“Our conclusion is that Facebook had this whole campaign to either buy or bury competitors. And to thereby deny consumers of the benefit of choice and better products or better services,” Weiser said.

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Facebook has responded by saying it will fight the suit. Adding that it’s in one of the most competitive industries and is being punished for creating successful products.

“Our products became and remain popular for this very reason — we constantly evolve, innovate and invest in better experiences for people against world-class competitors like Apple, Google, Twitter, Snap, Amazon, TikTok and Microsoft. We innovate and improve constantly because we have to,” said Facebook’s Vice President and General Council Jennifer Newstead in a statement.

One estimate says nearly 250,000 jobs in Colorado are tied to technology and information. Weiser says that growing industry needs more competition and a smaller Facebook to thrive.

“I’m proud of Colorado’s innovative landscape, and I want Colorado companies to attract investors and build great companies. Right now, Facebook is such an intimidating force, the way they’ve excluded rivals by cutting off access. A lot of investors won’t invest in upstarts if they’re trying to threaten Facebook,” he said.

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The calls for this lawsuit have been one of the biggest uniting forces of bipartisanship. Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, who also leads the state Republican party, tweeted on Wednesday “Big Tech’s reckoning has just begun.”

“During this time of deep polarization, we need to show the American people that we can have leadership from both parties working together to solve problems. That’s what we’re doing in this lawsuit,” Weiser said.

Jeff Todd