U.S. Court Denies Facebook's Motion To Dismiss Antitrust Case

Published on 14 Jan 2022

A US court on Tuesday refused to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust action against Facebook, stating that the FTC's case was reasonable and should continue.

Facebook, now Meta Platforms, had petitioned Judge James Boasberg in federal court in Washington, DC to dismiss a case in which the government sought to compel Facebook to trade Instagram and WhatsApp.

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A Brief Overview of The Case

The FTC's high-profile lawful conflict with Facebook is one of the most influential legal challenges the government has launched against a technology corporation in decades, and it is being widely watched as Washington attempts to rein in Big Tech's enormous market dominance.

"Finally, it is anyone's guess whether the FTC will be able to establish its case and triumph at summary judgment and trial. The Court avoids such guesswork and simply determines that at this motion-to-dismiss stage, assuming the FTC's accusations are genuine, the agency has established a credible claim for relief "Boasberg wrote.

The FTC first sued Facebook under the prior Trump administration, but the court dismissed its suit. The agency revised its case in August, including further details on the social media firm's alleged crushing or acquisition of competitors and once again pleading with a court to compel the business to sell photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp.

The Judge’s Denial 

The judge, in denying the dismissal, stated that the FTC could not pursue allegations that Facebook declined to allow interoperability approvals with competing apps in order to maintain its dominance, stating that the policies were abandoned in 2018 and that Facebook's most recent enforcement was even older.

Meta said that it was certain of victory in court.

"By dismissing allegations concerning our platform rules, today's ruling narrows the scope of the FTC's lawsuit. Additionally, it concedes that the agency has a 'very uphill battle' in establishing its case about two acquisitions allowed years ago "According to an email statement from a spokeswoman.

Nevertheless, Boasberg compromised with the FTC that Chair Lina Khan, who voted to obtain the revised complaint against Facebook, should not have been obliged to recuse herself, saying that her role resembled that of a prosecutor rather than that of a judge.

"Whilst Khan has clearly voiced opinions on Facebook's monopolistic power, these views do not indicate the kind of personal hostility or financial conflict of interest that has disqualified prosecutors in the past," Boasberg ruled.


Featured image: Background photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com


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