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Federal Court Dismisses Antitrust Accusations Against Facebook

Photo by Anna Sullivan via Unsplash

Federal Court Dismisses Antitrust Accusations Against Facebook

By Movieguide® Staff

On Monday, June 28, Facebook won big after the federal court dismissed two major antitrust complaints—one from the Federal Trade Commission and the other brought by 48 state attorneys general—that would have resulted in significant restrictions for Instagram and WhatsApp. 

After the court ruling, Facebook shares shot up by 4%, which helped the social media company break $1 trillion in market capitalization, CNBC reported. 

“We are pleased that today’s decisions recognize the defects in the government complaints against Facebook,” Facebook said in a statement. “We compete fairly every day to earn people’s time and attention and will continue to deliver great products for the people and businesses that use our services.”

CNBC reported

The FTC sued the company last December, alongside attorneys general from 48 states, arguing that Facebook engaged in a systematic strategy to eliminate threats to its monopoly, including the 2012 and 2014 acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, respectively, which the FTC previously cleared. 

The FTC’s accusation pivoted around their claim that the social media platform holds the monopoly power for domestic media networks. The court found that FTC did not provide sufficient evidence to prove their case. 

“Although the Court does not agree with all of Facebook’s contentions here, it ultimately concurs that the agency’s Complaint is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed,” the court filing reads. “The FTC has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims — namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services.”

“The Complaint is undoubtedly light on specific factual allegations regarding consumer-switching preferences,” the court wrote. “These allegations — which do not even provide an estimated actual figure or range for Facebook’s market share at any point over the past ten years — ultimately fall short of plausibly establishing that Facebook holds market power.”

“The FTC’s Complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined antitrust product market,” the filing reads. “It is almost as if the agency expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist.”

The FTC noted that the court did not dismiss their argument entirely and is open to a revised case in the future. 

“The FTC is closely reviewing the opinion and assessing the best option forward,” an FTC spokesperson said.