FTC antitrust lawsuit against Facebook cleared to move forward

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 11, 2022
Updated 2022/01/11 at 10:53 PM

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may move forward with its latest antitrust lawsuit against Meta, a US district judge ruled on Tuesday. The decision is a significant victory for the regulator, which had its first complaint rejected by Judge James Boasberg last June.

Per The Washington Post, Boasberg now says the agency can move forward with its complaint thanks to the “more robust and detailed” evidence it presented with its amended lawsuit, which the FTC filed in August. “Although the agency may face a major task on the way to proving its claims, the Court believes that it has now canceled the order and can proceed with the discovery,” the judge said.

In October, Meta asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the FTC had once again failed to present a “factual basis for claiming monopoly power.” The agency’s amended complaint is approximately two dozen pages longer than the original, but makes many of the same arguments. Specifically, the FTC alleges that Facebook used the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 to secure its dominant position in the social media market.

“Today’s ruling narrows the scope of the FTC’s case by rejecting claims about our platform policies. She also acknowledges that the agency faces a ‘difficult task’ to prove its case regarding two acquisitions it canceled years ago,” a Meta spokesperson told Ploonge. “We are confident that the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp made them what they are today. They have been good for the competition and good for the people and companies that choose to use our products.”

Update 17:43 ET: Added Meta comment.

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