Judge dismisses lawsuits for monopolistic practices against Facebook by US states and federal authorities

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A federal judge in the United States on Monday accepted Facebook’s request to dismiss the two lawsuits filed in 2020 by the United States’ competition agency (FTC) and attorneys general in many states, which accuse the company of monopolistic practices. .

Washington DC District Court Judge James Boasberg dismissed the case brought in December by the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states, an action that could have reversed Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The lawsuit “did not allege sufficient facts to establish plausibly (…) that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for personal social networking services,” the judge said in a 53-page submission, while leaving open the possibility that the authorities resubmit the claim after reviews.

In the two lawsuits filed in December that were unified in federal court, state and US officials called for the divestment of Instagram and WhatsApp, arguing that Facebook had acted to “entrench and maintain its monopoly to deny consumers the benefits of competition.” .

But the judge said the complaint “says almost nothing concrete about the key question of how much power Facebook really had … It’s almost as if the agency expects the court to simply agree to the popular wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist. “.

On Wall Street, the social network, whose stock jumped almost 5%, surpassed the symbolic threshold of a trillion dollars of capitalization for the first time.

The decision comes a week after a US Congressional panel debated legislation that would lead to a sweeping overhaul of antitrust laws and give regulators more power to break up big tech companies.

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