Major antitrust lawsuits against Facebook dismissed in federal court

(Image credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

Almost six months after Facebook was hit with a pair of major antitrust lawsuits, both of them have just been tossed.

A D.C. federal court on Monday dismissed antitrust lawsuits against Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, Politico reported.

The lawsuits were brought against Facebook in December 2020, with the FTC accusing the social media company of a "years-long course of anticompetitive conduct" and seeking a court injunction to potentially "require divestitures of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp." Additionally, a lawsuit brought by 48 state attorneys general alleged Facebook "illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner."

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But according to Politico, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled Monday that the FTC failed to demonstrate its assertion that Facebook controls over 60 percent of the social networking market.

"The FTC's inability to offer any indication of the metric(s) or method(s) it used to calculate Facebook's market share renders its vague '60%-plus' assertion too speculative and conclusory to go forward," the judge said.

The filing also stated that the FTC's complaint said "almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined antitrust product market," and "it is almost as if the agency expects the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist," per CNBC.

Additionally, the judge said the states attorneys general waited too long to bring their lawsuit, per Politico. The FTC and the state attorneys general now have 30 days to file new complaints against Facebook. But The Verge writes that the "court's dismissal may provoke more aggressive action" in Congress.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.