Facebook Asks Judge to Dismiss FTC Antitrust Charges for a Second Time
The Federal Trade Commission seeks to force the social networking company to sell both Instagram and WhatsApp.
Once again, Facebook has asked a federal judge to dimiss the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) antitrust case against it, Reuters reports. The FTC first brought charges againt the social media giant last December, and the latest were filed this past August.
The FTC seeks to force Facebook to sell Instagram and Whatsapp, as it alleges that the company used its aquisitions of those services to eradicate any competition that posed an "existential threat."
A judge dismissed the complaint in June, saying the the FTC's case was "legally insufficient." But the U.S. government revised its charges, fleshing out its inital arguments in greater detail. Since 2012, the FTC argues, Facebook has had a monopoly on the U.S. personal social networking market, claiming more than 65% of active monthly users since 2012.
“The complaint alleges that after repeated failed attempts to develop innovative mobile features for its network, Facebook instead resorted to an illegal buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance,” the FTC's statement read. “Lacking serious competition, Facebook has been able to hone a surveillance-based advertising model and impose ever-increasing burdens on its users.”
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
The social networking company notes that the FTC approved those mergers at the time: "The FTC challenges acquisitions that the agency cleared after its own contemporaneous review ... The case is entirely without legal or factual support. This is as true now as it was before."
The judge will respond by November 17.
European regulators have also opened antitrust investigations into the network, and in the U.S., the company is still dealing with the aftermath of a whistleblower who has handed over thousands of documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which allegedly prove the company “chooses profit over safety.”
According to MarketWatch, the company's blackout yesterday cost it about $164,000 a minute in revenue.