Facebook urges court to throw out FTC’s antitrust suit — again

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“The FTC still has no valid factual basis for alleging monopoly power,” Facebook’s lawyers argued in the 55-page filing.

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Facebook on Monday urged a federal court to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s revised antitrust suit against the company – a sign that the social media giant plans to play hardball during a crucial week in Washington.

The widely expected court filing comes weeks after the FTC filed an amended complaint against Facebook Accusing the company of having a monopoly in the US since 2011. It also came on a day when Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp services were offline globally, which had not been determined.

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The FTC suit seeks to force Facebook to restructure or sell assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The regulator says owning those apps allows Facebook to unfairly compete.

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But Facebook said the revised FTC suit is “entirely without legal or factual support.”

“The FTC still has no valid factual basis for alleging monopoly power,” Facebook’s lawyers argued in the 55-page filing.

“This court gave the agency a second chance to make a valid claim,” Facebook said in Monday’s filing. “But the same shortcoming that was fatal to the FTC’s initial complaint remains: the revised complaint still provides no facts that Facebook had, and at all relevant times, had monopoly power.”

Federal Judge James E. The FTC filed an amended complaint in August after Bosberg threw out the Trump-era version for being “vague” and “too speculative” in its arguments.

In the FTC’s amended complaint, the regulator argued that Facebook has a monopoly in the “personal social networking” market.

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The FTC argued that Facebook’s area of ​​competition is different from that of online platforms such as YouTube or TikTok. The FTC said people don’t use those platforms primarily to communicate with friends and family. So, just because TikTok is popular, doesn’t mean Facebook doesn’t have a monopoly on the social media platform used for personal communication, the FTC said.

“Snapchat is the next largest provider of personal social networking services, but its user base is weak in comparison: Snapchat has millions of fewer monthly users than Facebook Blue or Instagram,” argued the FTC, referring to the main Facebook site. photo sharing site.

Facebook argued in its response that the idea of ​​a separate individual social media space that excludes TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and even Apple’s iMessage is a legal fiction.

“absence of any data, from any source, for a . [personal social networking services] Markets clarifies that the proposed market reflects the FTC’s litigation imperatives – not the commercial realities,” Facebook said in the filing.

Facebook has also Argued that FTC Chair Leena Khan should dissociate herself From investigation because he has criticized the company in the past.

Monday’s filing – which came less than 24 hours ago Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is set to testify in the Senate – Shows that Facebook is giving no ground in its battle for survival with antitrust regulators.

But the markets weren’t favoring Facebook, it seemed. The company’s stock was down 5.8 percent as of Monday afternoon as investors digested Haugen’s 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night and anticipate Tuesday’s testimony. The updated court filing did little to lift Facebook shares.

Monday’s filing also came amid a wave of after-hours attacks affecting Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users around the world. The outage also affected Facebook’s own internal services, forcing the company to communicate with reporters Monday through a third-party public relations firm, Brunswick Group.

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