Federal court dismisses FTC antitrust complaint against Facebook

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2021
A federal court has dismissed an antitrust complaint against Facebook lodged by the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states, citing a lack of evidence that the company is a monopoly in its market.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook


On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Facebook's request, to have the antitrust lawsuit dismissed. The court found that the FTC did not provide enough data to prove that Facebook held monopoly power in the loosely defined Personal Social Networking Services category.

"Although the Court does not agree with all of Facebook's contentions here, it ultimately concurs that the agency's Complaint is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed. FTC has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims -- namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services," the court's filing reads.

However, only the complaint was dismissed, not the case. That means the FTC can refile the complaint in the future.

"The FTC's Complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined antitrust product market," the filings reads. "It is almost as if the agency expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist," the filing reads.

Back in December 2020, the FTC and the attorneys general for 46 U.S. states lodged antitrust complaints against the social media giant.

The lawsuits focused on Facebook's acquisition of social media companies like Instagram and WhatsApp, alleging that the company acquired the rising rivals to squash competition. One of the potential remedies could be forced divestment from those companies.

The dismissal represents a major blow to government attempts to reign in the power of Big Tech. However, antitrust scrutiny and potential legislation that could curb the power of Silicon Valley tech giants still looms.

Earlier in June, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a sweeping slate of bills that could, among other things, ban companies like Facebook from acquiring smaller competing firms and prevent them from competing in markets they operate. All pieces of legislation in the antitrust package have been approved, meaning they'll go before the full House for a vote.

FTC Versus Facebook - Dismissal by Mike Wuerthele on Scribd

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 770member
    Where are you armchair lawyers now? 
  • Reply 2 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    bulk001 said:
    Where are you armchair lawyers now? 
    Yep, the term ‘monopoly’ is thrown around way too much by those who know nothing about the legal definition. Apple has a ‘monopoly’ over its own hardware and software? Psystar tried that argument and lost their shirt... and their business.
    mark fearingthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,935member
    lkrupp said:
    bulk001 said:
    Where are you armchair lawyers now? 
    Yep, the term ‘monopoly’ is thrown around way too much by those who know nothing about the legal definition. Apple has a ‘monopoly’ over its own hardware and software? Psystar tried that argument and lost their shirt... and their business.
    Except that is nothing like this. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on its market, as there are plentiful choices to iPhones. What about for Facebook? Is LiveJournal still a thing? MySpace?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 1,031member
    The harms caused by Facebook, Google, maybe Apple, Intel, etc, such as they exist, need to be addressed outside the principles of monopoly. The proposed laws making their way through Congress are misguided for the same reasons. 

    The EU is also suffering from the same illusions. 
    thtdysamoriabadmonk
  • Reply 5 of 9
    This case filed when Trump was still in office.  Let's see if the new Biden admin will refile with actual tangible evidence. 
    edited June 2021
  • Reply 6 of 9
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,074member
    This case filed when Trump was still in office.  Let's see if the new Biden admin will refile with actual tangible evidence. 
    The case was filed in Dec. 2020 by the FTC and 46 States. It has nothing to do with Trump in office and will have nothing to do with Biden in office. Though Biden did appoint a new head of the FTC.

    The problem the courts found was not with the "tangible evidence' but the loosely defined "Personal Social Networking Service" market, that Facebook was suppose to have a "monopoly" in.

    This is probably just a partial list .......  

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_services

    If they want to prove that Facebook is a monopoly, they are going to have to redefine the market that Facebook is in. Like how some define the market as "iOS users", to try to prove that Apple has a "monopoly".     
     
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    larryjw said:
    The harms caused by Facebook, Google, maybe Apple, Intel, etc, such as they exist, need to be addressed outside the principles of monopoly. The proposed laws making their way through Congress are misguided for the same reasons. 
    Congress is actually trying to sidestep monopoly/antitrust with the market cap approach. In theory, the cap would allow the status quo to continue for any company below a $600 billion market cap. So instead of actually saying "this strategy is an antitrust violation", it's more like "you're not allowed to use this strategy if you're over the cap". 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    lkrupp said:
    bulk001 said:
    Where are you armchair lawyers now? 
    Yep, the term ‘monopoly’ is thrown around way too much by those who know nothing about the legal definition. Apple has a ‘monopoly’ over its own hardware and software? Psystar tried that argument and lost their shirt... and their business.
    Except that is nothing like this. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on its market, as there are plentiful choices to iPhones. What about for Facebook? Is LiveJournal still a thing? MySpace?
    Most people don't use Facebook exclusively, there's still plenty of other competing websites like Reddit, Tumblr, SoundCloud, YouTube, TikTok, and so on...

    There's many competitors to Facebook however there's only really one competitor to Apple in the mobile market, Google.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,074member
    lkrupp said:
    bulk001 said:
    Where are you armchair lawyers now? 
    Yep, the term ‘monopoly’ is thrown around way too much by those who know nothing about the legal definition. Apple has a ‘monopoly’ over its own hardware and software? Psystar tried that argument and lost their shirt... and their business.
    Except that is nothing like this. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on its market, as there are plentiful choices to iPhones. What about for Facebook? Is LiveJournal still a thing? MySpace?
    Most people don't use Facebook exclusively, there's still plenty of other competing websites like Reddit, Tumblr, SoundCloud, YouTube, TikTok, and so on...

    There's many competitors to Facebook however there's only really one competitor to Apple in the mobile market, Google.
    That's not right. Apple do not sell iOS, like Microsoft sells Windows and Google gives away Android. Apple competes with the likes of Samsung, LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Google, Amazon and other companies marketing a mobile phone and/or tablet. Over 70% of consumers using mobile devices buys devices using Android, not "Google" devices.

    It's just that Apple mobile devices are the only ones using iOS. Apple iOS do not compete with Google Android. Apple iDevices competes with other devices on Android and there's plenty of competition there. And no one company here comes close to having a "monopoly". Not like in the old days when Nokia ruled and had nearly 50% of the "smartphone" market, right up until Jobs introduced the iPhone.  

    With Apple, the vast majority of their profits are derived from selling hardware that uses iOS. Google makes the vast majority of their profits selling targeted advertising that spans across multiple platforms, including on iOS and MacOS. Just how are they "competitors", other than Google with their "Pixel"?  If anything, Google is more of the major competitor to Facebook, when it comes to where it matters most ....... advertising revenue. 

    Most people that claim Apple has a "monopoly" has to make up a market where Apple is naturally the only competitor in it. That would be the "iOS market". But the "iOS market" is nothing but a market made up of people that bought and uses iDevices. That would be like claiming Mercedes has a "monopoly" in the market of consumers driving autos  with a "4MATIC"  trans.  
    edited June 2021 thtwatto_cobra
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