After a setback, the Federal Trade Commission against Facebook, which also renamed itself Meta, is moving forward.
Back in June, a federal judge in the United States ruled that the first FTC dispute over Facebook’s independence was baseless. But the court remanded the case, and now the same judge has ruled that the FTC’s latest lawsuit against Facebook is “stronger and more detailed than ever” and could continue. The court rejected Facebook’s request to drop the case, a decision that disrupted Facebook’s ongoing battle with government officials over its market power.
The FTC is one of the most powerful governing bodies in the US. If it wins its case against Facebook, there could be serious problems for the media company.
“FTC officials have lodged a serious complaint, and we are awaiting trial,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC Bureau of Competition, in a statement to Recode.
Facebook, meanwhile, said it believed it would eventually win its battle against the FTC.
“We hope the evidence shows the seriousness of the allegations. Our currencies on Instagram and WhatsApp have changed to what they are today. among other things, when talking to Recode.
In June, a federal judge dismissed the first FTC case, which at the time was a huge success for Facebook. In response, the FTC has retaliated – and instead of adopting a new approach, it has maintained its main points against Facebook, this time supporting them in more detail. It is another sign that regulatory coercion to reduce the power of Facebook and other major tech companies like Amazon and Apple is not slow when faced with obstacles.
The modified suit also included new evidence of the company’s fraudulent practices to crack down on rivals and keep users on its platform without being forced to promote its products. What contradicts the FTC is that Facebook has failed to innovate on its own mobile app for the past few years. Instead, it adopted what the FTC calls an illegal “buy or install” approach by blocking external apps by restricting access to the Facebook platform or accessing apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp that were competing competitors.
The lawsuit also alleges that Facebook “coaxed” it into third-party software developers, such as Path and Circle, by inviting them to join Facebook’s open source network. After these developers relied on Facebook’s offer, Facebook changed, claiming the suit. In the end, the FTC says, it all hurts consumers by keeping them on Facebook, and a few other apps. For these reasons, a federal judge ruled that the FTC did not have sufficient evidence. But it said the FTC could go on to say that Facebook was involved in anti-competitive business when it bought competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp.
“Facebook lacked marketing skills and the ability to support mobile conversions. After failing to compete with new developers, Facebook bought or buried them illegally when their popularity became increasingly dangerous,” Vedova told reporters in an announcement to be made in August.
A few hours later the amended decision was released in August, Facebook tweeted thread in response.
The company also claimed that there was no “authorization” for Facebook to be a regulator, and said the FTC had deleted the company’s purchases on WhatsApp and Instagram when it happened.
“It is unfortunate that even though the court rejected the appeal and stated that it had no grounds for complaint, the FTC has decided to pursue the case without cause,” Facebook wrote.
The company was also planning to release its splashy product a new program for real-world meetings – complete with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is doing a hit on CBS – the same morning as the new trial is expected to end. Surprisingly, Facebook’s new virtual reality Conference tool is similar in many ways to existing programs from small companies, which show how existing anti-trust laws do not prevent professional companies from copying in real time.
The revised case also responded to a Facebook request that Lina Khan, chair of the FTC, let him resign himself to what the professional company says is a violation of interest for his previous work in criticizing the market forces of technology companies like Amazon. One legislators like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) ali criticized the push for Khan as an attempt to “torture” the FTC. But it does not seem to be working out – the FTC reiterated in the modified suit that it is not ready for Khan to resign. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that there was no valid reason to dismiss Khan.
In the past, Facebook has said that the success of companies like TikTok and Snap proves that there is good competition in the social media industry. The revised lawsuit, however, states that TikTok is not a real Facebook contest because it is used primarily to “share videos with an audience that the image does not know, rather than connect and chat with friends and relatives.”
It remains to be seen whether the lawsuit will succeed, as well as how it could affect Facebook business. Facebook, which has enough resources to deal with the case, has come up with a very strong defense that could be the reason why it is not a controller. But a court ruling that Facebook tried to stop the case shows that the FTC – which has Khan in office – is not backing down.
Update on January 11, 2022, 3:00 pm PT: The case has been re-assigned to another court.
Update August 19, 12:27 pm PT: The article was changed to a comment from Facebook, which was posted on Twitter.