According to the US antitrust authorities, Facebook parent company Meta will have to sell the two subsidiary networks Instagram and WhatsApp again. After a first lawsuit was dismissed in the summer of 2021, the competent federal court in Washington has now allowed a revised version.
The US government wants to break up Facebook’s parent company Meta. The competent antitrust authority Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accuses the group of a monopoly position in the market for social networks.
By buying the platforms Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta, formerly Facebook, also wanted to protect this monopoly position in an unfair way, according to the accusation.
But after a first competition lawsuit was dismissed in the summer of 2021, the US authorities have now achieved a partial success. The competent federal court in Washington has approved a revised version.
Does Meta have a monopoly position in the market for online networks?
Already in December 2020, the FTC had filed a competition lawsuit against Facebook for violation of antitrust law. However, the competent federal court in Washington dismissed the lawsuit in the summer of 2021. The US antitrust authority has not been able to prove that Facebook has a monopoly in the market for social networks, according to Judge James Boasberg.
However, he left open to the FTC the possibility of filing an updated lawsuit within 30 days. The authority also made use of this possibility.
Since then, the antitrust watchdogs have been hoping for a ruling that will force Facebook to sell the messenger service WhatsApp and the social network Instagram again. Parent company Meta should also be obliged to obtain prior approval for potential takeovers in the future.
Facebook called the lawsuit unfounded at the time. The FTC still cannot prove that Facebook has a monopoly position because it does not exist, according to an official statement. But the federal court in Washington now saw it differently.
US Federal Court Allows Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook
The competition lawsuit, with which the US Antitrust Office wants to smash Facebook, was accepted in the second attempt by the responsible judge James Boasberg. Court documents show that Boasberg now sees the accusation of unfair competition as much better justified.
He also rejected a demand from Facebook that FTC chief Lina Khan was biased. As demanded by the Federal Supreme Court, the antitrust authority apparently provided enough arguments in the revised version to prove Facebook’s monopoly position.
Facebook parent company Meta, meanwhile, expressed confidence in a statement. The group is sure that it can uncover significant weaknesses in the FTC’s statements.
The antitrust watchdogs continue to demand a sale of the platforms Instagram and WhatsApp. However, it could still take some time before a final verdict is reached. The procedure could take several years.
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