Judge James Boasberg allows FTC to sue Meta Platforms
The Company is accused of illegally maintaining its personal social network monopoly through anti-competitive conduct
US District Judge James Boasberg of the District Court of Colombia has denied a motion of dismissal by technology conglomerate Meta Platforms (previously Facebook). It was against the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) lawsuit, which sued the company for illegally maintaining its personal social network (PSN) monopoly through anti-competitive conduct.
FTC had filed an amended complaint after Judge Boasberg dismissed the complaint last year. The order was issued without prejudice and allowed the agency to reinstate the suit by amending its complaint.
The Commission retained its core argument. It alleged that the monopoly was maintained by the acquisition of potential competitors, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The company had implemented policies preventing inter-operability between the Facebook app and other apps, which were viewed as "nascent threats."
The FTC, this time, provided more robust and detailed facts for its allegations, clearing the bar for pleading.
Judge Boasberg allowed the allegations of illegal monopoly, barriers to market entry, and anticompetitive conduct through acquisitions of potential competitors. However, he did not allow allegations around inter-operability, since the company had abandoned the policy in 2018.
Meta responded to the decision in a statement, "The 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 are confident that 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."