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Facebook Hits $1 Trillion Market Cap After Antitrust Claims are Dismissed

A federal judge says lawsuits against Facebook lacked support or came too late.

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Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says the Federal Trade Commission "failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish ... that Facebook (FB) has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services," according to CNN

Frederic Legrand | Shutterstock

The FTC accused Facebook of holding a “60%-plus share” of the social media market and violating the country’s anti-monopoly laws with a “buy or bury” strategy -- buying start-ups like Instagram to keep it from threatening Facebook’s market dominance. The lawsuit also accuses Facebook of excluding other companies from its services.  

Related: Criticism of Facebook rains after launching advertising in virtual reality video game

Boasberg also dismissed a similar lawsuit by dozens of state governments charging Facebook with anti-competitive practices through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively.  The judge, while saying Facebook may have violated antitrust laws, decided the lawsuits were filed too late to be relevant.

Facebook shares rallied on Monday after the announcement, climbing more than 4% and lifting the company’s market value above the $1 trillion level for the first time. 

The social media giant responded with a statement.

"We are pleased that today's decisions recognize the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook," the company said.

Related: Facebook Launches Audio Podcasts

The judge, however, didn’t dismiss the FTC’s overall case against Facebook --- and a spokesperson says the agency is reviewing and planning its next steps.

However, Boasberg’s decision did reignite calls on Capitol Hill to update U.S. antitrust laws. Representative Ken Buck, the leading Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted about the need to break up Big Tech:

“Today's development … shows that antitrust reform is urgently needed. Congress needs to provide additional tools and resources to our antitrust enforcers to go after Big Tech companies engaging in anticompetitive conduct."

The committee recently pushed forward several bills that would help FTC antitrust regulators and the Justice Department break up tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Related: Uber, Facebook, Instagram and other apps that are slowly killing your smartphone