Facebook seeks to dismiss FTC antitrust lawsuit for second time

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,218   +884
Staff member
In context: Facebook has once again asked a judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission. The social media giant argues that the FTC's complaint that it holds monopoly power in the market has no "factual basis."

The FTC initially filed its suit last December in hopes of undoing Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. It alleged that the buyouts harm competition and give consumers few choices for personal social networking. It also leaves advertisers with fewer competitive choices.

Facebook moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the accusations were meritless and did not prove that the company held monopoly power. In June, a judge agreed with Facebook, saying that the case was "legally insufficient." However, he allowed the FTC to bring back an amended suit, which it filed in August.

The new filing did not change the charges. Instead, the FTC opted to provide more details regarding the alleged behavior. It claims that Facebook purchased the companies to eliminate competition it viewed as an "existential threat."

"Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile," said FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director Holly Vedova. "After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat. This conduct is no less anticompetitive than if Facebook had bribed emerging app competitors not to compete."

The FTC filed the amended complaint on August 19th, 2021. On Monday, The Washington Post noted, Facebook reiterated its argument that the Commission "still has no factual basis for alleging monopoly power."

The judge will review the case and decide whether to move forward with it on November 17. If the judge dismisses the suit a second time, the FTC will unlikely get another chance to refile. That said, it would be just a small victory for the social media platform.

In June, European regulators launched an antitrust investigation looking into the company's alleged practice of collecting rival advertisers' data to give it an advantage in classified advertising. Additionally, a whistleblower has recently emerged alleging the company allowed VIPs to break its rules and that it was aware of the adverse mental health effects that Instagram has on teens.

Image credit: Facebook App by Brett Jordan, Zucked by Annie Spratt

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Dimitriid

Posts: 1,341   +2,629
It's no wonder Facebook was dismissed from all DNS servers worldwide for so many ours today: The FTC can dismiss the case but it will only make people double down on their attacks until they're gone or changed, so I wouldn't be so sure they'll continue to prevail, specially outside the US.
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 956   +761
My friends and family dropped FAKEBOOK we are tired of them pushing COVID spam and removing/banning people that post anything bad about Biden. Screw you Fakebook.

Just started (GAB) for non censorship and freedom. F U FAKEBOOK!
 

DonquixoteIII

Posts: 101   +58
At least Zuck-up never tried to characterize his platform's policies as 'Do no Evil'. However, an unadvertised policy of 'Do as much Evil As You Can Get Away With' just... Zucks.
 

kapital98

Posts: 385   +339
Just a technical note (I don't do antitrust -- but have filed plenty of civil motions):

The FTC did not file their complaint on Monday. FB filed their answer to the complaint on Monday.

Your previous link shows the date the FTC filed their renewed complaint (August 19th, 2021). This was a *huge* deal because the FTC didn't change the scope of their accusations. FB and other Big Tech companies were hoping that the new FTC Chair, Lina Khan, would essentially water down the accusations. This could have a drastic impact on discovery and finding out more information for future regulatory decisions.

So, not to be rude, but that line is not factually accurate. The previous FTC link does provide a PDF copy of the amended complaint they did file (on 8/19/21).
 

kapital98

Posts: 385   +339
It's rather bizarre the trial court required such a detailed complaint. Usually, only the most basic allegation of facts are necessary.

The FTC seems to have done the right thing by bringing their first complaint and only amending it after the judge (in a somewhat bizarre decision) denied their first complaint. At this stage of litigation you don't want to be overly specific. Just specific enough to enter the discovery phase.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,218   +884
Staff member
Just a technical note (I don't do antitrust -- but have filed plenty of civil motions):

The FTC did not file their complaint on Monday. FB filed their answer to the complaint on Monday.

Your previous link shows the date the FTC filed their renewed complaint (August 19th, 2021). This was a *huge* deal because the FTC didn't change the scope of their accusations. FB and other Big Tech companies were hoping that the new FTC Chair, Lina Khan, would essentially water down the accusations. This could have a drastic impact on discovery and finding out more information for future regulatory decisions.

So, not to be rude, but that line is not factually accurate. The previous FTC link does provide a PDF copy of the amended complaint they did file (on 8/19/21).
Thank you for pointing that out. Never feel like you're being rude pointing out a mistake. We all make them, and I, personally, appreciate observant readers like you, since it allows me to make corrections quickly. Thanks again. I fixed the error.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,369   +7,173
If they will just reverse the Federal laws that give Fakebook and all the other big boys protection from being held accountable or being sued it will make them all fall in line. It was a good law in it's day but we are long past that. Included in that revocation needs to be a restriction that they CANNOT make you agree to binding arbitration with the arbitrator of THEIR choice as a part of the access agreement. None of this should deter the FTC from continuing to go after FakeBook, in fact they might want to upgrade their filing with the newest information that is coming out about their knowingly allowing & encouraging the abuse of many of their users ..... especially children & young teens.