A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s revised antitrust lawsuit against Meta, formerly known as Facebook, can proceed, ending the social media company’s resignation order. In a revised complaint filed last August, the FTC argues that the company followed a “buy it or bury it” strategy against rivals to suppress competition.
This is the FTC’s second antitrust run on the company. In June, a federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by the agency and a broad coalition of state attorneys general who were among the multiplier efforts of federal and state regulators to rein in the market power of the tech titans.
The FTC is seeking solutions that could include a forced spin-off of Facebook’s popular Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services, or a restructuring of the company.
US District Judge James Boasberg, who in June ruled that the FTC’s original lawsuit was “legally insufficient” and did not provide enough evidence to prove Facebook was a monopoly, said in Tuesday’s ruling that the first complaint “stumbled over.” in the starting blocks.”
But he added that while the “core theory” of the lawsuit – that Facebook is a monopoly engaged in anti-competitive behavior – remains unchanged, the facts alleged this time are “much more robust and detailed than before”.
Meta said in an emailed statement that it is “confident that the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the allegations”.
“Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp made them what they are today,” the company said. “They have been good for the competition and good for the people and companies that choose to use our products.”
Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition department, said the agency had filed a “strong amended complaint, a strong amended complaint, and we look forward to the judgment.”
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