The Federal Trade Commission has filed an application amended antitrust complaint against Facebook, alleging that the company violated federal competition laws by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp. The new complaint is a more specific version of the payment the court rejected them in June due to insufficient evidence.
“Facebook today has and has maintained a dominant share of the relevant market for U.S. personal social networking services since 2011,” the complaint refers to time spent and metrics of active users on a daily and monthly scale. “At the individual level and collectively, these metrics provide significant evidence of Facebook’s enduring monopoly position in social networking services.”
Facebook has until October 4 to give a legal response to the complaint. According to a Facebook corporate account, a message posted on Twitter said the company was investigating the complaint and “it will soon have more to say”.
First application in December 2020, The FTC alleges that competing networks acquired by Facebook gave it a monopoly on social networking services in the United States. But in June, the court dismissed the complaint, finding that the Commission had not provided sufficient evidence that Facebook had a monopoly on social networks. However, the court allowed the FTC to file an amended complaint that addressed the concerns and eventually set a deadline. For August 19.
In particular, the new complaint includes a stricter definition of personal social networks, a market in which Facebook has an alleged monopoly. The new complaint distinguishes Facebook specifically from services like TikTok, which post content but don’t specifically provide social space. The FTC’s definition also excludes services like Twitter and Reddit that share information among communities that have special interests but “don’t focus on connecting friends and family”.
The complaint refers to a number of internal messages to show that Facebook understands this difference, even though the specific content of the messages has been modified in the public version of the document.
“Facebook … has been the dominant provider of such services since at least 2011,” the complaint ends. “In addition, Facebook Blue and Instagram are the two largest personal social networking services in the United States.” According to the FTC’s definition, Facebook’s only significant competitor in space is Snapchat, although decommissioned providers include Friendster, Myspace, Google+, and Path.
In July, Facebook invited Lina Khan, chairman of the FTC withdraw from an action brought by the Agency against the company. “Throughout his career, Chairman Khan has consistently and very publicly concluded that Facebook has committed a violation of competition law,” the company said at the time. But on Thursday, the FTC announced that Khan would not step out of the case.
“Because the case will be prosecuted before a federal judge, the company will be given appropriate constitutional safeguards,” the agency said. in the opinion.