The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint that Facebook, er, Meta operates as a monopoly will be heard by the courts after the US watchdog’s initial lawsuit was dismissed.
In December 2020, the FTC accused Meta of “illegally maintaining its personal social networking (PSN) monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” It threatened to break up the mega-corporation and undo its acquisitions Instagram and Whatsapp.
This legal challenge fell flat, however, when judges threw the case out six months later. Evidence supporting the idea it unlawfully dominated social media was said to be lacking though the regulator was given another chance to file an amended lawsuit. A federal judge has now agreed to hear the case this time.
“First, the FTC has now alleged enough facts to plausibly establish that Facebook exercises monopoly power in the market for PSN services,” Judge James Boasberg ruled [PDF] this week.
“Second, it has adequately alleged that the company’s dominant market share is protected by barriers to entry into that market. Third, the agency has also explained that Facebook not only possesses monopoly power, but that it has willfully maintained that power through anticompetitive conduct — specifically, the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.”
The amended lawsuit brings up pretty much the same allegations as the first lawsuit. It claims Meta has been operating as a monopoly for years with Instagram and Whatsapp under its belt, and that it has enforced anticompetitive practices to deter or thwart rivals.