States appeal dismissal of Facebook antitrust case

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State attorneys general filed an appeal Wednesday in the D.C. district court over the dismissal of their antitrust case against Facebook. 

“We filed this notice of appeal because we disagree with the court’s decision and must hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation, and cutting privacy protections. We can no longer allow Facebook to profit off of exploiting consumer data,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement. 

James led a coalition of state attorneys general in filing the appeal a month after a federal judge dismissed the case entirely

The states argued that Facebook violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by blocking interoperability for certain apps. The argument was dismissed by Judge James E. Boasberg, an Obama-era nominee, because the actions took place more than five years ago. 

“We believe the District Court’s decision dismissing the states’ complaint is correct and look forward to defending the District Court’s decision before the Court of Appeals,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. 

Along with the state-led effort, Facebook is facing an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that is centered around allegations regarding the company’s previously approved acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. 

Boasberg dismissed the FTC’s complaint last month as well but left open an opportunity for the regulatory agency to file an amended complaint. 

Boasberg said the FTC did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that Facebook controls more than 60 percent of the market, as the case alleges, but said that the FTC could conceivably do so. 

The FTC’s request for an extension to file the amended complaint was approved, and the agency now has until Aug. 19 to do so — pushing back a deadline that would have forced the agency to file the amended complaint by Thursday. 

As states and federal regulatory agencies continue to pursue cases against tech giants, the House is considering legislation that would give the enforcement agencies greater power. 

A set of six bills to revamp antitrust legislation, targeting tech giants, advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee last month with bipartisan support. But they face an uncertain path forward with members on both sides of the aisle voicing concerns.


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