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Judge OKs monopoly lawsuit against Meta by the FTC to go on

Meta is not off the hook yet, as a federal judge has given the green light to a lawsuit filed against it by the Federal Trade Commission. The federal watchdog is accusing Meta of monopolistic practices.

After Meta breathing a sigh of relief last year when District of Columbia Judge James Boasberg dismissed a suit against it by the FTC, the same judge has now ruled the case can go on. Boasberg stated that the FTC had bungled the first case, but the second attempt now includes more robust facts and details.

Meta sought to have the second case dismissed, but the judge denied the plea, although he admitted that the FTC might have a hard time proving the accusations.

The FTC contends that Meta (formerly doing business as Facebook) had engaged in illegal monopolistic practices in the personal social networking sector by buying up its competitors, including popular messaging platform Whatsapp and photo/video sharing network Instagram.

In his opinion, Boasberg wrote, “In stark contrast with its predecessor, this complaint provides reinforcing, specific allegations that all point toward the same conclusion: Facebook has maintained a dominant market share during the relevant time period…Facebook’s market share comfortably exceeds the levels that courts ordinarily find sufficient to establish monopoly power.”

The judge rejected Meta’s claim that the head of FTC, Lina Khan, had tainted the case by already judging the case in the public sphere. Boasberg refused to accept that Khan was the sole instigator of the case. He continued, “…and its (Meta’s) last alleged enforcement was even further in the past. Last, the company lets fly a new arrow this time around, urging dismissal on the independent basis that the FTC’s vote authorizing the Amended Complaint was invalid because Chair Lina Khan’s alleged prejudgment of Facebook’s antitrust liability required her recusal. The Court believes that such contention misses its target, as Khan was acting in a prosecutorial capacity, as opposed to in a judicial role, in connection with the vote.”

The FTC had amended its original claim by using Comscore data that spelled out Meta’s daily active users (DAUs) and Monthly Active Users (MAUs), in proportion to its competitors, and the average time spent across all its social networks. FTC will still have to corroborate these claims as the case proceeds, through depositions but the judge is now convinced the case has some merit.

Meta disagrees with the FTC and expresses confidence that the case will go nowhere in the statement obtained by The Verge and other media houses. “Today’s decision narrows the scope of the FTC’s case by rejecting claims about our platform policies. It also acknowledges that the agency faces a ‘tall task’ proving its case regarding two acquisitions it cleared years ago. We’re confident the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp transformed them into what they are today. They have been good for competition, and good for the people and businesses that choose to use our products.”

The US government has been attempting to deal with monopoly with the big tech companies that could use their sizes and substantial cash piles to stamp out competition from smaller and newer companies unfairly.

Google is also facing a lawsuit from the Department of Justice under the direction of the antitrust agency.

Written by HackerVibes

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