Meta asks U.S. judge to toss blockbuster antitrust case

Tokyo, 06 April, /AJMEDIA/

Facebook giant Meta on Friday asked a federal judge to dismiss a case from a powerful U.S. antitrust authority that could see the social media juggernaut forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2020 by the Federal Trade Commission, centers on Meta’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, which the FTC argues stifled competition in the market for social networks.

In the usual practice of trying to have the case dismissed before reaching trial, Meta said in a motion that its acquisitions were “good for consumers and businesses” and won approval by the FTC when they were made.

“The FTC reviewed both acquisitions years ago and allowed them to close. The decision to revisit done deals is tantamount to announcing that no sale will ever be final,” Meta said in a statement.

Meta also argued that TikTok and YouTube were absent in the FTC’s definition of the social media market, “ignoring many of the most popular activities people engage in on Facebook and Instagram.”

The crux of the FTC’s case claims Meta achieved a “monopoly power” by acquiring these potentially rival platforms.

The case suffered a setback in June 2021 when a judge dismissed the initial complaint. However, the FTC refiled with an amended suit in August 2021, successfully surviving Meta’s attempt to have it thrown out.

The FTC has until May 30 to offer a counter-argument to Meta’s plea to the judge; no trial has been set for the case.

A trial win by the FTC could reshape the online landscape, potentially landing a major blow to Meta’s dominance of the social media ecosystem.

The FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice, which shares antitrust enforcement, have launched a series of blockbuster cases against U.S. tech giants in recent years.

The case against Google over its dominant search engine could be decided by a federal judge by the end of the year.

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