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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.