Today, a D.C. District Court judge dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s first antitrust complaint against Facebook. The lawsuit focused on how Facebook has bought out competitors and potential competitors to stifle competition, as well as how Facebook has limited interoperability by withholding network access to rivals.
Judge James Boasberg found fault with the FTC’s arguments about Facebook’s market power and how to remedy the interoperability claims, despite Facebook’s clear incentive and ability to resume its anticompetitive conduct when enforcer scrutiny fades. While the parallel state case against Facebook was dismissed, the court noted that the FTC can refile its complaint.
The following can be attributed to Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge:
“This is a setback — not the end — in the FTC’s fight against dominant Big Tech monopolies like Facebook. The FTC should continue this important work, as the judge has indicated the agency can still file a new complaint if it can address these concerns. This case illustrates the hoops that enforcers must just jump through for a successful case — corporate-friendly standards and judges skeptical of long-held antitrust doctrines such as monopolists’ refusal to deal. Congress’ ongoing work to pass new laws and rules to address the power of Big Tech, as well as broader antitrust reforms, is now especially important and urgent.”
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