FTC’s Facebook Antitrust Suit Can Move Forward, Judge Rules

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A judge ruling the Federal Trade Commission may pursue a modified antitrust case against the Facebook unit of the meta platform.

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Nick Otto / Businesshala

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The Federal Trade Commission may move forward with its revised antitrust case against the Facebook unit of Meta Platforms, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

United States District Judge James Bosberg wrote in a 48-page opinion that this time, the FTC charged enough facts to establish Facebook’s monopoly power in the market for personal social networking, or PSN, services. Judge Bosberg dismissed the FTC’s initial complaint against Facebook over the summer, which sent the agency back to the drawing board.

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The judge wrote that the basic principle of the trial remains unchanged. The FTC alleges that Facebook has monopoly power for PSN services, and has illegally maintained its monopoly by acquiring competitors and potential competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

“The facts alleged this time to reinforce those principles, however, are far stronger and more detailed than previously thought, particularly in the context of the defendant’s alleged monopoly,” Bosberg wrote.

Judge Bosberg also dismissed Facebook’s claim that FTC Chair Lena Khan should have recused herself from the vote to re-file the lawsuit.

The judge wrote, “While Khan has undoubtedly expressed views about the monopoly power of Facebook, these views do not suggest the type of ‘grinding with an ax’ based on personal animosity or financial conflict of interest, which has led prosecutors in the past.” has been disqualified.”

Still, Judge Bosberg dismissed those allegations about how Facebook dealt with interoperability with apps it viewed as threats.

Meta stock (ticker: FB) closed in Tuesday’s regular session, up 1.9% at $334.37, and was flat in aftermarket trading.

Meta noted that Judge Bosberg limited the scope of the FTC’s case by dismissing the claims of Facebook’s platform policies.

“It also acknowledges that the agency faces a ‘long task’ to prove its case with respect to the two acquisitions,” Meta said in an emailed statement. “We believe the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp have transformed them as they are today. They have been good for the competition, and good for the people and businesses who use our products.” choose to use.”

“FTC employees submitted a robust amended complaint, and we look forward to the trial,” FTC Bureau of Competition director Holly Vedova said in a statement.

Write to Connor Smith at [email protected]

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