Facebook again asks judge to dismiss U.S. lawsuit to force sale of Instagram, WhatsApp, Telecom News, ET Telecom


By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON: Fb Inc asked a choose on Monday to dismiss the U.S. government’s revised antitrust situation that seeks to power the social media big to market Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook said in a courtroom filing that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) experienced failed to deliver a “plausible factual basis for branding Fb an illegal monopolist.” The business extra it appears the FTC “had no foundation for its naked allegation that Fb has or experienced a monopoly.”

The social media big requested that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, which would make it more durable for the company to amend the lawsuit. The FTC declined to remark.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Columbia ruled in June that the FTC’s authentic complaint submitted in December failed to give proof that Fb had monopoly electricity in the social-networking marketplace.

The FTC’s amended criticism, filed in August, additional more depth on its accusation the social media business crushed or bought rivals and all over again requested Boasberg to purchase the sale of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The FTC argued at size in its revised grievance that Facebook dominates the U.S. individual social networking current market with additional than 65% of every month energetic consumers because 2012.

Facebook filing stated the FTC’s complaint was “at odds with the industrial truth of intensive level of competition with surging rivals like TikTok and scores of other attractive possibilities for buyers.”

The FTC voted 3-2 alongside social gathering strains in August to file the amended lawsuit and denied Facebook’s ask for that agency chair Lina Khan be recused.

In its motion, Fb argued that the FTC vote to file the amended grievance was not valid for the reason that Khan participated.

It included a very long sequence of statements from Khan, produced just before she became chair of the FTC, which were essential of the social media huge. In a series of tweets from December 2020, she praises lawsuits brought by the FTC and state lawyers general saying “hopeful that it marks yet a different action ahead in the escalating attempts to rehabilitate antitrust guidelines.”

Fb also notes that the FTC is suing to undo mergers that it had approved: Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for $1 billion, and WhatsApp, which it bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

“The FTC issues acquisitions that the agency cleared soon after its own contemporaneous review…,” the motion stated. “The scenario is fully with out lawful or factual assist. This is as real now as it was ahead of.”

Facebook also bundled a dissent from FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson, a Republican, who had voted to oppose filing the amended lawsuit mainly because the FTC had elevated no objections to the Instagram and WhatsApp bargains.

“The FTC’s fictional industry ignores the aggressive truth: Fb competes vigorously with TikTok, iMessage, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, and a great number of other people to support individuals share, join, connect or only be entertained,” a Facebook spokesperson explained. “The FTC are not able to credibly claim Fb has monopoly electricity for the reason that no these electric power exists.”