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Meta asks US judge to dismiss antitrust lawsuit by FTC, 48 states



Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has asked a US judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed against the company by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC, 48 states, and other parties have launched a lawsuit in an attempt to compel the corporation to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, which it acquired in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

In the lawsuit, the FTC, 48 states and dozens of attorneys general in the USA claim that Meta (then known as Facebook) bought the two platforms to stifle competition.

The suit added that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg “recognized that by acquiring and controlling Instagram, Facebook would not only squelch the direct threat that Instagram posed, but also significantly hinder another firm from using photo-sharing on mobile phones to gain popularity as a provider of personal social networking,” the FTC asserted. “Just as with Instagram, WhatsApp presented a powerful threat to Facebook’s personal social networking monopoly, which Facebook targeted for acquisition rather than competition.”

But, Meta has insisted that the antitrust case against its company be dropped since, in addition to the FTC having initially approved both acquisitions, its initial complaint was rejected for failing to make a sufficiently strong case.

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Meta, in a statement, also claims that “the agency has done nothing to build its case through the discovery process” to show that the company holds monopoly power in the “personal social networking services” market and that it caused harm to consumers and competition through the purchases.

Quoting a different lawsuit from the previous year, Meta also claimed that the FTC was using “structurally unconstitutional authority” against it, and this gave them more ammunition to criticize the agency and its ‘irregular’ antitrust laws.

“The decision to revisit done deals is tantamount to announcing that no sale will ever be final,” Jennifer Newstead, Meta’s Chief Legal Officer, wrote in a blog post. Newstead claims the Instagram and WhatsApp “lawsuit not only sows doubt and uncertainty about the US government’s merger review process and whether acquiring businesses can actually rely on the outcomes of the regulatory review process, but it will also make companies think twice about investing in innovation, since they may be punished if that innovation leads to success.”

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