Facebook files to dismiss antitrust lawsuits

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Facebook on Wednesday filed motions to dismiss the antitrust cases leveled against it by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of state attorneys general.

The FTC’s case, filed in December, alleges that the social media giant maintains an illegal monopoly and calls for its purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp to be rolled back.

In Facebook’s response to the lawsuit, the company argues that the regulatory agency failed to establish a relevant market for its antitrust claims and reiterates its argument that the FTC approved deals to buy Instagram and WhatsApp at the time.

Facebook also claims that the FTC lacks the statutory authority to challenge past conduct.

The lawsuit from 46 states as well as Washington, D.C., and Guam alleges that in addition to acquiring potential rivals, Facebook has stifled innovation by blocking competitors from using its platform services.

Facebook argues that the state attorneys general lack authority to bring this case and claim they waited too long to challenge the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions.

The social media platform also argues in its motion to dismiss that the states failed to develop a plausible claim that the two services it acquired would necessarily have become rivals.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who led the states’ case, said that Facebook is “wrong on the law.”

“We are confident in our case, which is why almost every state in this nation has joined our bipartisan lawsuit to end Facebook’s illegal conduct,” she said in a statement. “We will continue to stand up for the millions of consumers and many small businesses that have been harmed by Facebook’s unlawful behavior.”

Clearing the bar needed for a case to be dismissed will be a tall order for Facebook. It would likely have to prove that even if the plaintiffs’ points about how Facebook operates in the market are true, they still do not establish a legally valid argument.

–Updated at 3:10 p.m.

Tags Facebook Instagram United States antitrust law WhatsApp

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