Facebook’s antitrust cases brought by FTC and states dismissed
The state’s lawsuit was signed by the attorneys general of 46 states and the District of Columbia and Guam. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota did not join the case.
Facebook asked the court to dismiss the two lawsuits in March. The company argued that it was continually facing competition, including from new rivals such as TikTok. He also argued that regulators had failed to prove how the services, which are free, hurt consumers. The judge’s dismissal of the two lawsuits so early in the process stunned regulators and Facebook executives.
Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia questioned why states have waited so long to try to unwind Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp deals. Regulators hadn’t tried to block them when they were happening. He also dismissed claims that Facebook crushed rival apps by blocking their ability to easily interact with the social media platform.
“Ultimately, this antitrust action is based on public and high-profile behavior, which almost all took place over six years ago,” he wrote, “before the launch of the Apple Watch. or Alexa or Periscope, when Kevin Durant was still playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Ebola was the virus dominating the headlines. “
Judge Boasberg, who was appointed to his current post by President Barack Obama, said the FTC had not sufficiently proven that Facebook was a monopoly. He said the agency’s definition for social media was too vague, and in a reference to an interpretation of antitrust law prevalent in courts that is anchored in consumer prices, he noted the product was free.
“It’s almost as if the agency expects the court to just nod at conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopoly,” he wrote. “After all, no one who hears the title of the 2010 film ‘The Social Network’ wonders what company it is.”
But, he said, “’monopoly power’ is a technical term under federal law with a specific economic meaning. “