The decision allows federal prosecutors to try to prove their allegations that Meta has illegally abused a monopoly in the marketplace for social media
In a blow to Facebook, US federal judge on Tuesday ruled that US antitrust officials can continue their case to break up Meta, Facebook’s parent company.
The decision allows federal prosecutors to try to prove their allegations that Meta has illegally abused a monopoly in the marketplace for social media — and that its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp should be spun off, reported CNN.
The social media giant had argued the complaint should be dismissed.
District Judge James Boasberg previously threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint last June. At the time, Boasberg said agency prosecutors had not done enough to show that Facebook held a monopoly in social networking. But he left the door open for the FTC to resubmit its complaint with changes.
In August, the FTC refiled its complaint with the backing of its new chair, the vocal tech industry critic Lina Khan.
Facebook again called for Boasberg to quash the suit, but in Tuesday’s opinion, the judge said the FTC’s ‘significant additions and revisions’ from its earlier filing met the threshold for the case to continue, reported CNN.
In a statement, Meta said it was confident the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the FTC’s claims. The company also pointed out that Boasberg described the FTC’s job ahead as a ‘tall task.’
The case gives Khan a chance to make her mark in her first turn as a federal regulator. Khan played a key role in kick-starting the current wave of antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech platforms with a 2017 paper in the Yale Law Journal highlighting the dominance of Amazon.
Khan also helped lead a 16-month congressional investigation of Big Tech while working for the House antitrust subcommittee, a probe that produced a landmark report in 2020 finding that Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta enjoy monopoly power, reported CNN.
Meta had called for Boasberg to throw out the FTC suit on the grounds that Khan should not have been able to vote to approve the new complaint, given her past criticism of Big Tech companies.
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