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Judge Tosses Government Cases Against Facebook

He ruled that FTC had failed to prove social media site has monopoly power
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2021 4:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook has emerged victorious—for now—in a Goliath vs. Goliath legal battle. A federal judge has struck down antitrust lawsuits brought against the social media giant by the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 46 state attorneys general, NBC reports. US District Judge James E. Boasberg of the DC federal court said the FTC had failed to "plausibly establish" that Facebook is a monopoly with control of more than 60% of the social networking market. "These allegations—which do not even provide an estimated actual figure or range for Facebook’s market share at any point over the past ten years—ultimately fall short of plausibly establishing that Facebook holds market power," Boasberg said.

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In a separate ruling, Boasberg said the state attorneys general, who accused Facebook of using its power to crush rivals, had waited too long to file lawsuits in connection with the company's acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The decisions are a major blow to government attempts to rein in tech giants, though the judge gave the FTC 30 days to amend its complaint to address his concerns, Politico reports. Facebook's defenders praised the rulings while opponents of Big Tech, including leading Republicans, called for a rewriting of antitrust laws to better deal with "anticompetitive conduct" from the companies, reports the Washington Post. (Facebook's stock price surged after the rulings.)

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