- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A federal judge allowed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook to proceed Tuesday, dismissing the social media giant’s request that the case be dismissed.

Last year, Judge James E. Boasberg scrapped an earlier FTC antitrust case against Facebook.

But on Tuesday, Judge Boasberg noted that the FTC’s “significant additions and revisions” ensured its case could advance further and he wrote “Second time lucky?”

“Ultimately, whether the FTC will be able to prove its case and prevail at summary judgment and trial is anyone’s guess,” Judge Boasberg wrote. “The Court declines to engage in such speculation and simply concludes that at this motion-to-dismiss stage, where the FTC’s allegations are treated as true, the agency has stated a plausible claim for relief under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The Court, consequently, will deny Facebook’s Motion.”

Judge Boasberg set a deadline of later this month for Facebook to answer the FTC’s amended complaint now that the case is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In the amended complaint filed in August, the FTC alleged that Facebook maintained monopoly power in the personal social networking services market for at least 10 years and asserted that Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp to neutralize competitors.  

DOCUMENT: Boasberg decision

Facebook, which has reorganized as Meta, said Tuesday it believes it will prevail over the FTC. A Meta spokesperson also noted that the judge’s opinion narrows the scope of the FTC’s case.

“We’re confident the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims,” the Meta spokesperson said in a statement. “Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp transformed them into what they are today. They have been good for competition, and good for the people and businesses that choose to use our products.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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