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Facebook Antitrust Case Dismissed by Judge

Facebook has spent a lot of time in court 👨‍⚖️ recently for everything from failing 👎 to deal with hate speech 😡🗣 to leaking personal information. As of Monday, the social media giant finally got some good news 👌 when a federal court dismissed the antitrust complaint against Facebook.

The complaint is from the Federal Trade Commission, along with another case coming from 48 state attorneys general 👨‍⚖️. It accused Facebook of getting too big and controlling the market in a monopolistic way. But the dismissal causes a major drawback to the agency’s grievance. This was a very big deal—a successful complaint could have resulted in the social media platform divesting WhatsApp and Instagram 📱. Here’s what the complaint was all about, and why Facebook may not be out of hot water just yet  🤯 . 

Why Did the Court Dismiss the Facebook Antitrust Complaint?

The FTC initially filed 📁 the complaint in December 2020. These parties argue that Facebook operates in a strategic manner to combat potential threats to its monopoly. The FTC points out that examples of this include the acquisitions of social media platforms WhatsApp and Instagram 📱. 

On Monday, the court 👨‍⚖️ ruled that the FTC has failed 👎 to prove its dispute. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia states that it does not agree with Facebook’s disputes. Even so, it has concluded that FTC’s complaint does not stand on any legal ground and has to be dismissed.

The statement 📝 also explains that the FTC did not ❌ produce enough relevant facts to successfully establish a crucial component of its Section 2 claims. Specifically, the court says 🧑‍⚖️ the FTC didn’t back up its claim that the social media company has a large influence in the Personal Social Networking Services market. This category, it says, is too loosely defined.

The court explained 🧑‍⚖️ that the complaint lacks specific factual accusations related to consumer-switching preferences. It adds that the accusations did not ❌ provide an estimated figure or range of the company’s market share 💰 at any point for the last decade. This ultimately means the allegations lack the plausibility in identifying Facebook’s market influence 🗣👥.

The relevant filing notes 📝 of the FTC’s antitrust complaint show that the agency wasn’t expecting this. The filing 📁 apparently assumed that everyone agrees 👍 that Facebook is a monopolist. But according to the filing 📁, the FTC’s complaint has no ❌ solid information about this. It ostensibly cannot prove how much power 💪 the social media platform 🤳 had and still has in an antitrust product market. 

Details of the Decision

The court 👨‍⚖️ did not side❌entirely with Facebook. It disagreed 👎 with Facebook’s reasoning that the FTC does not have the authority to criticize the acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram📱. The court 👨‍⚖️ also took one action decidedly in favor of the complaint as well. It made a ruling that the FTC can still pursue the divestiture of these acquisitions. This depends on the success of its legal disputes regarding Facebook’s monopoly power.

However, the court dismissed the additional lawsuit from the state attorney’s general 👨‍⚖️. It argued that the delay between acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram and the 2020 lawsuit was strange. 

The federal court 👨‍⚖️ also considers the states’ dispute about “Facebook preventing interoperability with competing apps fails to state a claim under current antitrust law, as there is nothing unlawful about having such a policy” as unprecedented.

Is the Facebook Antitrust Complaint Case Over and Done?

As much as Facebook would love❤️ for this to be it, the federal court’s ruling 👨‍⚖️ is not the conclusion of this case. The FTC has the chance to alter its reasoning in its argument. This leaves the opportunity open that the agency could file an amended complaint 📁 and continue the case against Facebook. An FTC spokesperson explained 🗣 in a statement that the agency is extensively reviewing 🔎 the opinion and determining the best option forward. A spokesperson 🗣 representing the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James stated that the office  🏢  is reviewing this decision 🔎 and considering its legal options ⚖️. 

Meanwhile, in a statement, Facebook explained that it is pleased with Monday’s decisions. It says the ruling identifies the flaws in the government’s complaints against the company 🏢. Facebook added that it operates daily to earn the time ⌚️ and attention of its users 🤳 by delivering the best services and products for businesses and individuals that use the platform.

Facebook’s shares climbed to over 4% this Monday following the court rulings 👨‍⚖️. As a result, this aided the company’s market capitalization to over $1 trillion 💰 for the first instance. 

Social Media Antitrust Cases Aren’t Going Away

Even though the U.S. Government is now focusing on the social media platform’s capacity to hinder competitors, researchers 🧐 have been bringing attention❗️❗️ to this matter for years. Only time ⌚️ will tell what the FTC’s next steps will be against Facebook or if the case continues past this point.

If you have come across any form of misconduct from a social media platform in any way, then your best solution 💯 is to speak 🗣 with a social media attorney 👨‍⚖️. A highly trained and experienced 💪 individual can provide the best advice 💯and guidance that benefits 👌 your specific case. Speak 🗣 with a professional as soon as possible to help resolve ✅ your case. Don’t hesitate; contact 📞 an attorney 🧑‍💼 today.