“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.