Speed Reads

read between the lines

Why Facebook may not be celebrating the dismissal of 2 antitrust cases

Facebook may not be celebrating a federal judge's dismissal of two anti-trust cases just yet, The New Yorker reports.

Per The New Yorker, Judge James Boasberg's ruling suggested that the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 48 state attorneys general didn't have much weight behind their accusations that Facebook violated antitrust laws because they "failed to define the market that Facebook operates in" and waited too long to act, respectively. But Boasberg didn't imply that the matter was settled.

"The judge has given [the FTC and the states] a road map," George Hay, a Cornell University law professor, told The New Yorker after looking over the opinion. One line stands out in particular, The New Yorker reports. "The Court rejects Facebook's argument that the FTC lacks authority to seek injunctive relief against those purchases," Boasberg wrote, referring to the company's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Boasberg also suggested that while the FTC's inability to define Facebook's market is a major problem, "this defect could conceivably be overcome by re-pleading."

All told, Matt Stoller, the director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project who has authored a book on the history of monopoly power in the U.S., thinks "some parts" of Boasberg's ruling are "helpful" for the plaintiffs. "The judge ruled that the FTC claims were right," he told The New Yorker. "If I were Facebook, I wouldn't be particularly happy with this ruling." Read more at The New Yorker.