A US federal court has dismissed antitrust complaints from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as numerous states against Facebook, quashing a major bid to force the social media giant to sell subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp.
Unsurprisingly, the court’s decision moved the markets. The price of Facebook’s shares rose by over 4% after the ruling, pushing the company’s total value over US$1 trillion (~RM4.15 trillion) for the first time, Reuters reported.
The judge who presided over the case ruled that the FTC failed to prove that Facebook had monopoly power in the US social networking market. He further dismissed a lawsuit initiated by many US states because they took too long to challenge the company’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
The FTC should do everything it can to pursue its case against Facebook. But the ruling shows why our antitrust laws need to be updated after years of bad precedent. We can’t meet the challenges of the modern digital economy with pared down agencies & limited legal tools.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 28, 2021
“We are pleased that today’s decisions recognise the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook,” said a Facebook spokesperson.
The FTC, which enforces US antitrust law, and a large group of US states sued Facebook last year for stifling market competition by acquiring its rivals like Instagram and WhatsApp.
Like other US tech giants, Facebook has come under increasing global scrutiny over its size and influence. Some American lawmakers want it to be broken up. In Germany, regulators are looking into whether the tech giant is strangling market competition – Apple, Amazon, and Google are also being probed over the same issue.