FTC’s Latest Monopoly Lawsuit Against Meta Gets Green Light

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint that Facebook, uh, Meta is operating as a monopoly, will be heard in court after the US watchdog’s initial lawsuit is dismissed.

In December 2020, the FTC accused Meta of “unlawfully maintaining its personal social networking (PSN) monopoly through a course of years of anti-competitive conduct.” He threatened to break up the mega-corporation and reverse its Instagram and Whatsapp acquisitions.

That legal challenge, however, fell flat when judges dismissed the case six months later. Evidence to support the idea that he was illegally dominating social media was lacking, although the regulator was given another chance to file an amended complaint. A federal judge has now agreed to hear the case this time.

“First, the FTC has now alleged sufficient facts to plausibly establish that Facebook exercises monopoly power in the PSN services market,” Judge James Boasberg said. [PDF] this week.

“Second, it has sufficiently alleged that the company’s dominant market share is protected by barriers to entry into that market. Third, the agency also explained that Facebook not only possesses monopoly power, but has deliberately maintained that power through anti-competitive behavior – specifically, the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The Amended Trial raises much the same allegations as the First Trial. He claims Meta has operated as a monopoly for years with Instagram and Whatsapp under its belt, and has applied anti-competitive practices to deter or thwart rivals.

Judge Boasberg, however, denied some of the FTC’s claims. Meta’s “interoperability policies” that prevented developers from connecting to its platform were scrapped in 2018.

Meta’s attorneys, meanwhile, said FTC Chair Lina Khan’s vote to approve the amended complaint should be overturned because of her past work advising House Democratic representatives on antitrust and antitrust. Big Tech.

Five FTC commissioners, including Khan, voted whether to submit an amended complaint; it went 3-2. Meta claimed that Khan had “an ax to grind” against the accused or [is] not otherwise impartial” in view of the opinions expressed in his past work. Simply put, she is a major critique of today’s Internet giants, their reach and their power.

But Judge Boasberg disagreed. “While Khan no doubt expressed opinions about Facebook’s monopoly power, those opinions don’t suggest the type of ‘axe to grind; based on personal animosity or financial conflict of interest that has disqualified prosecutors in the past. Instead, Khan would have been acting as a prosecutor, as opposed to a judicial role when she voted.”

A Meta spokesperson made the most of it.

“Today’s decision narrows the scope of the FTC’s case by dismissing allegations about our platform policies,” a spokesperson for Meta said. The register in a report.

“He also acknowledges that the agency faces an ‘uphill task’ of proving its case regarding two acquisitions it authorized years ago. We are confident that the evidence will expose the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp have made them what they are today They’ve been good for the competition and good for the people and businesses who choose to use our products.®

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