Judge Dismisses FTC And States’ Antitrust Complaint Against Facebook

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A federal judge has dismissed an antitrust complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several states against tech giant Facebook.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the complaint Monday, claiming that the FTC’s “Complaint is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed.” However, the court merely dismissed the complaint, not the entirety of the case, meaning the FTC could amend the complaint and refile it, CNBC reported.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision to strike down the complaint marks a setback in the FTC’s antitrust action against Facebook, which could ultimately force Facebook into divesting from Instagram and WhatsApp, according to CNBC. The court hinted it could deliver a favorable ruling to the FTC if the complaint is filed again, given that the decision admits “the Court does not agree with all of Facebook’s contentions.” The court also said an amended complaint should be filed by July 29, Reuters reported.

The court claimed that the FTC did not demonstrate in its complaint that Facebook’s market power reaches that of a monopoly. “The 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 said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Facebook Says ‘Unprecedented’ Antitrust Lawsuit ‘Attempts To Rewrite History’)

“The possession of monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking Services (as defined by the agency) — is not adequately pleaded here,” the court asserted. “No more is needed to conclude that the Complaint must be dismissed.”

Off the news of the FTC complaint dismissal, Facebook’s stock price rose 3%, CNBC reported, which elevated the social media company’s market capitalization to more than $1 trillion for the first time ever.