On Monday, Facebook won against antitrust regulators as the U.S. District Court dismissed the complaint of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the social media giant. The court called the complaint by the FTC “legally insufficient.”
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the FTC’s antitrust complaint against Facebook. The Court also dismissed a similar complaint brought by attorney generals of 46 states.
JUST IN: A federal judge dismissed the FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook, calling it "legally insufficient" in making the case that the company has monopoly power. https://t.co/lXJnnYZma8
— Axios (@axios) June 28, 2021
Judge James E. Boasberg: FTC failed to establish a necessary element
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote that the FTC failed to present enough facts to reasonably establish the necessary element of all of its claims; this namely entails that the social media giant has monopoly of power in the business for Personal Social Networking (PSN)
On the other hand, Facebook filed to have the suits dismissed; Facebook argued that the FTC failed to sufficiently identify a market where the social media giant had monopoly of power.
Judge Boasberg agreed with the argument. However, while dismissing the complaint, he did not dismiss it in its entirety; instead, the judge invited the FTC instead to amend its complaint and bring it back to court after amendment.
— POLITICO (@politico) June 29, 2021
The judge also mentioned to FTC that they were on “firmer ground” back when they scrutinized Facebook for acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp.
The previous case against Facebook that was brought forward by 46 states highlighted those acquisitions. However, it was dismissed since there was already too much time that passed since the issues in question.
The FTC is now headed by Lina Khan, a Biden appointee and they will likely come back with a new lawsuit against Facebook. This time, it will be directed more on the acquisition history of the social media giant.
Khan, a Biden appointee, built her name on scrutinizing big techs.
Facebook spokesperson: they recognize the “defects in the complaints
Meanwhile, after the ruling, Facebook stocks jumped to almost 5%. It sent its valuation to over $1 trillion.
A company spokesperson made a statement, saying that they are pleased with the dismissal of the complaint. The Facebook spokesperson also added that they recognize the “defects” in the government complaints filed against them.
The spokesperson added that Facebook competes fairly in order to earn people’s attention and time. They added that they will continue to present exceptional products for the people, as well as for the businesses that use their services.
The court decision comes as several politicians from both the Republican and Democrat Party looked to rein in big tech companies for various reasons.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley, an outspoke critic of Facebook, wrote in a tweet that the decision to dismiss the complaint was “deeply disappointing.” He added that the court noted the market power of the social media giant, yet they essentially “shrugged [their] shoulder.”
Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Ken Buck, also wrote a tweet stating that an antitrust reform is urgently needed.