The FTC has refiled an antitrust lawsuit that was earlier dismissed by a federal judge for lack of evidence.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed another antitrust complaint against Facebook, claiming the social media behemoth uses its near-monopoly on social media to drive competitors out of the market.
According to CNN, the new complaint was filed scarcely two months after a federal judge dismissed the FTC’s initial lawsuit, saying the agency had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Facebook has a monopoly on social media.
In its most recent lawsuit, the FTC reiterated many of its original arguments.
However, the Federal Trade Commission’s new complaint is 50% longer than the last, and provides detailed instances of ways in which Facebook has worked to counter its competition.
In the last several years, Facebook has, for instance, acquired some of its largest and most prominent competitors, including Instagram and the popular instant-messaging service WhatsApp. Between its varied holdings, Facebook claims that nearly half the world’s population uses at least one of its core services. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, Facebook said that an estimated 3.51 billion people logged into Facebook.com, its associated Messenger app, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
In spite of its market dominance, Facebook responded to the FTC’s refiled complaint with further denials.
“We are reviewing the FTC’s amended complaint and will have more to say soon,” Facebook said.
In another, subsequent statement, Facebook called the lawsuit “meritless.”
“There was no valid claim that Facebook was a monopolist — and that has not changed,” Facebook said. “Our acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were reviewed and cleared many years ago, and our platform policies were lawful. The FTC’s claims are an effort to rewrite antitrust laws and upend settled expectations of merger review, declaring to the business community that no sale is ever final. We fight to win people’s time and attention every day, and we will continue vigorously defending our company.”
While Facebook has long maintained that people use its services because they are of the highest quality, Holly Vedova—acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s competition bureau—alleges that Facebook has used its vast financial resources to purchase all of its potential competitors.
“After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became a threat,” Vedova said. “This conduct is no less anticompetitive than if Facebook had bribed emerging app competitors not to compete.”
CNN notes that the FTC has not compared Facebook with “purpose-centric” social platforms, like LinkedIn, or video sites, such as YouTube. Instead, the FTC says that Facebook has effectively cornered the market for persons who wish to use social media to “connect with friends and family.”
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