Facebook is accused of buying and burying rivals from the US FTC in the renewed cartel war

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated its antitrust case against Facebook Inc. on Thursday by further clarifying the allegation that the social media company smashed or bought rivals and again called on a judge to try the social media Forcing media giants to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

The new complaint is significantly longer than the original, at 80 pages, and contains additional data to support the FTC’s claim that Facebook is a monopoly. An expanded part of the complaint argues that Facebook has dominated the US personal social networking market with more than 65 percent of monthly active users as of 2012.

The FTC voted 3-2 along the party lines to file the amended lawsuit and rejected Facebook’s request to withdraw agency boss Lina Khan. Khan participated in filing the new lawsuit.

The agency also reiterated its request that a court order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it sold for 1 billion rupees (approx.) In 2012.

In the headline of the press release on its complaint, the FTC accused Facebook of an “illegal buy-or-buy program to break up competition”.

Facebook announced that it would continue to fight the lawsuit.

“It is unfortunate that despite the court’s dismissal of the lawsuit and the conclusion that there was no basis for a lawsuit, the FTC has decided to continue this unsubstantiated lawsuit,” said a company spokesman. “Our Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions were reviewed and approved many years ago, and our platform policies were lawful.”

Not the same as Twitter

The FTC’s high profile v Facebook case represents one of the greatest challenges the agency has posed against a tech company in decades, and is being watched closely as Washington seeks to address big tech’s extensive market power.

“Despite considerable customer dissatisfaction, Facebook has made enormous profits over a long period of time, which suggests that it has both monopoly power and its personal competitors in the social networks are unable to overcome barriers to entry and question its dominance” , it says in the amended complaint.

In an effort to show Facebook’s dominance in personal social networking, the FTC’s complaint set it apart from the short video app TikTok and sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest, which don’t focus on connecting friends and family.

The amended complaint comes after Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in June that the FTC’s original complaint, filed in December, provided no evidence that Facebook had monopoly power in the social networking market owns.

Starting in 2007, Facebook invited apps to its platform to make it more attractive, but realized that some could become competitors, and in 2013 slammed the door on any app that could become a rival but reversed under pressure in Europe in 2018 who called the complaint.

“After Facebook has suspended its anti-competitive platform guidelines in response to expected public scrutiny, it will likely reintroduce those guidelines if such control is passed,” the complaint said.

Facebook shares rose 0.2 percent in afternoon trading to $ 356.09 (approximately Rs.26,500).

“A better complaint”

John Newman, who teaches at the University of Miami School of Law, said the complaint was clearly in line with Judge Boasberg’s concerns about the first version. “There are no huge new bombs in here.”

A second antitrust expert said he believed the court would have a hard time ordering the sale of Instagram or WhatsApp because they were bought years ago.

“It’s a better complaint because it is much more specific about Facebook dominating social networks,” added Seth Bloom of Bloom Strategic Counsel.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Antitrust Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was pleased to see the FTC holding Facebook accountable for “a long history of anticompetitive behavior”.

Alex Harman, of consumer rights group Public Citizen, told FTC new chairman Khan that the re-filing of the case “should be a message to Facebook and other monopolists that there is a new sheriff in town and the party is over.” “. . “

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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