Federal court dismisses FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook

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A district court in DC dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint against Facebook, saying the agency had failed to offer enough facts to prove Facebook has monopoly power in the social media industry. The court said the FTC could file an amended complaint with more details to bolster its case, but the judge voiced outright skepticism that Facebook is a monopoly. “It is almost as if the agency expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist,” District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote in his opinion. The decision immediately sparked reaction from both sides of the dispute, with those favoring action against Big Tech calling for a rewrite of antitrust law, which requires a showing that a company is a monopoly before a case can be pursued. The court also dismissed a similar lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general against Facebook that challenged the company’s acquisitions of photo-sharing service Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp, ruling that the states waited too long to challenge Facebook’s acquisitions. It was a major victory for Facebook, which has long argued that it was just one option in a burgeoning universe of social media companies.

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