Facebook Files Motion to Toss FTC Antitrust Suit

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
October 5, 2021 Updated: October 5, 2021

Facebook on Monday filed a motion to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit that accused the social media giant of illegal monopolistic practices.

In its Oct. 4 filing (pdf), the social media company argued that the FTC failed to make a valid case for claiming that Facebook has monopoly power in the social media market.

“The FTC’s amended complaint fails to fix the deficiencies of its first attempt, and should suffer the same fate,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

The Facebook spokesperson argued that the company “competes vigorously” with companies like Twitter and YouTube and that the FTC “cannot credibly claim Facebook has monopoly power because no such power exists.”

The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A court in June dismissed the FTC’s initial complaint against Facebook on grounds of insufficient evidence or explanation for how the agency determined it controls more than 60 percent of the social media networking market. After the judge tossed the case, the FTC requested—and was granted—an extension to refile its lawsuit.

The FTC filed its amended complaint (pdf) in August. It is significantly longer than the original, argues that Facebook dominates the U.S. social networking market, and includes additional data and evidence meant to support its claim that Facebook is a monopolist.

In a statement that announced the August filing of its amended complaint, the FTC said that as innovative competitors threatened Facebook’s dominance during the mobile boom of the 2010s, the social media giant embarked on an unlawful “anticompetitive shopping spree” to snap up rivals, including up-and-coming Instagram and WhatsApp, to “cement its monopoly.”

The complaint asks the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for $1 billion, and WhatsApp, which it bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

The FTC also accused Facebook of what it called an “open-first-close-later” scheme that involved luring app developers to its platform and later, when it deemed they were a threat and to further “moat its monopoly,” forcing developers to agree to restrictive conditions that effectively wiped them out.

Responding to the FTC’s claims, a Facebook spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email that the company’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were reviewed and cleared years ago. The spokesperson also insisted that Facebook’s platform access policies for developers were lawful.

Facebook had until Oct. 4 to respond to the FTC’s amended complaint.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'