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Federal Judge Dismisses Government Lawsuit Against Facebook

Federal Judge Dismisses Government Lawsuit Against Facebook

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits that had been filed against Facebook Inc. by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states late last year. The FTC accused Facebook of social media monopolization, claiming that the company has maintained control over more than 60 percent of the market for at least a decade, according to Gizmodo. 

However, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled Monday that the commission had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate Facebook’s monopoly hold.

“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 Services,” Boasberg wrote. “The complaint contains nothing on that score save the naked allegation that the company has had and still has a ‘dominant share of th[at] market.’”

Judge Boasberg also dismissed the complaint brought by a group of state attorneys general intent on extricating Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp. They argued that those acquisitions — made in 2012 and 2014, respectively – were central to the tech giant’s anticompetitive strategy, but the judge cited certain civil law doctrine that blocked the states from challenging deals closed so many years ago, according to The Verge. 

The ruling comes as a blow to ongoing bipartisan antitrust reform efforts, but despite Facebook’s stock surge following the dismissal, the company is not quite out of the woods. The FTC has until July 29 to revise its complaint and file an amended lawsuit against Facebook, which remains part of a larger congressional probe into Big Tech involving new legislation aimed at loosening the market grip of other companies such as Amazon, Google, and Apple. 

 

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