Judge Throws Out Antitrust Cases Brought Against Facebook

The United States Federal Trade Commission has 30 days to refile its complaint against Facebook after a federal judge on Monday threw it out as well as another case brought by dozens of individual states.

You can read through the opinions written by judge James E. Boasberg for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, with a report from the New York Times summarizing the judge’s dismissal of the states’ case as being because “too much time had elapsed since” key acquisitions of companies like Instagram and WhatsApp in the early 2010s. The FTC complaint, meanwhile, was tossed because it “failed to provide enough facts to back its claims that Facebook had a monopoly over personal social networking,” according to the report.

The complaints were filed in December with the FTC “seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that could, among other things: require divestitures of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp.”

“Although the Court does not agree with all of Facebook’s contentions here, it ultimately concurs that the agency’s Complaint is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed. The FTC has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims — namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services. The Complaint contains nothing on that score save the naked allegation that the company has had and still has a ‘dominant share of th[at] market (in excess of 60%),’ ” the opinion from the judge reads.

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