New FTC Facebook Complaint, Same Old Mistakes
Aug 19, 2021

Amended complaint against Facebook fails to credibly define
social media market

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an amended antitrust complaint against Facebook over its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp and 2012 acquisition of Instagram. The FTC’s initial complaint was thrown out by a federal judge in June for failing to provide credible evidence that Facebook maintains monopoly power over a relevant market — and the new complaint repeats that approach.

“The FTC is making the same mistake all over again, by failing the very first step of clearly and credibly defining Facebook’s market,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich.  “It claims that Facebook and Instagram compete only against Snapchat — but not Twitter, Linkedin, or TikTok — and actually concedes that WhatsApp didn’t compete against Facebook. These are Olympic-level gymnastics, and I suspect the judge will penalize the FTC’s leaps of logic.”

In his June 28 opinion of the FTC complaint, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg slammed the FTC’s case as “naked allegations” and “unsupported assertions.” Kovacevich wrote a Morning Consult op-ed citing the case as an example of regulators’ swinging a “hatchet, wildly swinging at America’s tech companies” — rather than a law enforcement action based on facts and market dynamics.

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