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Facebook Asks Judge to Dismiss FTC Anti-trust Lawsuit

— October 5, 2021

Facebook claims that the F.T.C.’s revised lawsuit contains no new evidence establishing the social media company as a monopoly.

On Monday, Facebook filed a motion to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) revised anti-trust lawsuit against the social media giant, saying that the government’s latest complaint lacks any compelling evidence.

According to The New York Times, Facebook’s motion—filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—failed to provide adequate evidence that Facebook has a monopoly and uses its dominant position within the social media and advertising market to harm rivals and prospective competitors.

The Times notes that the judge overseeing the case, James E. Boasberg, forced the F.T.C. to revise its complaint after he ruled in June that the agency had not established Facebook as a monopoly.

However, Boasberg did give the F.T.C. the chance to file a revised lawsuit with additional evidence.

While the F.T.C.’s amended complaint includes much of the same language as the original, it includes numerous new examples meant to show Facebook’s alleged abuses.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckberberg in 2018. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user: Anthony Quintano. (CCA-BY-2.0).

However, Facebook says that the F.T.C.’s revised lawsuit still falls flat, and that, even with a second chance, the federal government has failed to show Facebook is anything other than a highly successful business delivering a popular product.

“This court gave the agency a second chance to make a valid claim,” Facebook’s motion to dismiss said. “But the same deficiency that was fatal to the F.T.C.’s initial complaint remains: the amended complaint still pleads no facts plausibly establishing that Facebook has, and at all relevant times had, monopoly power.”

The New York Times says that Facebook was expected to request that the lawsuit be dismissed; its founder and C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly pledged to fight tooth-and-nail against any government attempt to curb the company’s power through antitrust litigation.

CNBC adds that Facebook has continuously criticized the F.T.C.’s supposed lack of impartiality. Even before the agency’s revised complaint was filed, Facebook suggested that the commission’s new chair, Lina Khan, had already made her mind up on Facebook’s supposed market abuses.

Now, Facebook says that Khan’s participation in a House antitrust report on competitive digital markets “at the very least creates the appearance that the Chair has prejudged the facts and cannot be unbiased or impartial.”

Khan, claims Facebook, cast the pivotal ballot in a 3-2 vote to authorize the amended complaint against Facebook—and that, if Khan is impartial, the lawsuit should be dismissed for her refusal to recuse herself from the investigation and litigation.

“The Commission’s case is without legal or factual support,” Facebook said in a statement. “This is as true today as it was before. We will continue to vigorously defend our company and the ability of people and businesses to choose the great products we offer.”


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