Facebook Asks Court to Throw Out Antitrust Cases

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 …
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Facebook asked a federal court this week to dismiss major antitrust cases filed by the FTC and almost every U.S. state, claiming that they failed to show the company has monopoly power or has harmed consumers.

Reuters reports that Facebook asked a federal court on Wednesday to dismiss multiple major antitrust cases filed by the FTC and nearly every U.S. state. The social media giant alleged that there was insufficient evidence to show that the company has a monopoly or harmed consumers.

Facebook said in response to the FTC complaint: “By a one-vote margin, in the fraught environment of relentless criticism of Facebook for matters entirely unrelated to antitrust concerns, the agency decided to bring a case against Facebook. None of the harms typically alleged in antitrust actions is alleged here.”

In lawsuits filed in December, the FTC and multiple U.S. states asked the court to force Facebook to sell two of its major assets, the messaging app WhatsApp and the photo-sharing app Instagram. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in the District of Columbia will hear the cases.

The FTC and states accused Facebook of violating antitrust laws in order to keep smaller competitors at bay and purchasing potential social media rivals to clamp down on possible competition. This includes Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.

The federal government and states filed a total of five lawsuits against Facebook and Google last year following outrage over the use and misuse of social media power in the economy and political sphere. In repose to the FTC lawsuit, Facebook claimed that the government failed to show that Facebook had a monopoly in a clearly defined market or that it had hurt consumers.

Facebook further dismissed emails from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited in the FTC lawsuit in which he expressed worry about the competitive threat that Instagram and WhatsApp posed. Facebook stated in its response:

Lacking facts to establish either unlawful conduct or harm to consumers, the FTC attempts to bolster its claims with a grab-bag of selectively quoted internal emails and messages from Facebook executives, which are offered to show that Facebook was concerned about competitive threats from Instagram and WhatsApp – but also many, many other firms.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said that the Masters of the Universe were “wrong on the law and wrong on our complaint.” She added: “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.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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