This is bad news for the social media giant. In the United States, a judge ruled on Tuesday January 11 that the American Competition Authority (Federal Trade Commission, FTC) could sue Facebook, which had tried to overturn accusations of dominant position.
This Washington federal judge, James Boasberg, ruled as admissible the new complaint filed by the FTC in August 2021, after his first case was dismissed by the same magistrate in June of the same year. The agency “Had stumbled in the starting blocks” on her first attempt, and she “Will undoubtedly encounter obstacles to prove his accusations”, noted the judge. Corn “The facts as presented this time around (…) are more solid and detailed than before “.
Decision rejects request by Meta (Facebook’s parent company) to dismiss prosecution for good “Without valid evidence”, according to the Californian company. Facebook argued in particular that the president of the FTC, Lina Khan, is not neutral. But James Boasberg replied that she didn’t have to be as a prosecutor.
One of the most threatening files for Meta
In its complaint, the FTC argues that Mark Zuckerberg’s group has “Illegally bought out or buried new innovators when their popularity became an existential threat”, with reference to the Instagram application and WhatsApp messaging. She also argues that “Personal social networks are a unique and distinct type of online service”, and a market controlled over 65% by Facebook, with its main platform and Instagram – therefore a monopoly.
This is one of the most threatening issues for Meta, regularly accused, like its neighbors in Silicon Valley, of having accumulated too much power, both economically, politically and socially.
Her reputation deteriorated further in the fall of 2021 with the revelations of a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, a former engineer, who leaked many internal documents. She hammered before the American Congress and in European Parliaments that the firm with some 3.5 billion monthly users was passing “Profit before security” of its users.
“It is impossible to say if the FTC will be able to prove its allegations at the trial”, insisted the judge Tuesday. Meta has not responded to requests from Agence France-Presse for the moment.
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Antitrust fight: the American Competition Authority will be able to sue Facebook