Antitrust case against Facebook collapses
The judge said the government had failed to establish exactly what Facebook’s market was:
“The market definition survey in this case is somewhat unusual because, unlike familiar consumer goods like tobacco or office supplies, there is no obvious or universally accepted definition of what is. a personal social networking service. “
This is essential, said the judge, because the FTC case accuses Facebook of excluding competitors from its market:
“The FTC needs to do two things here. First, it must provide a definition of the NHP [personal social networking] services. Second, it must further explain whether and why other non-PSN services available to the public are or are not reasonably interchangeable substitutes for PSN services.
More importantly, the judge said the government needs to show not only that Facebook is big, but that its size gives it extra-special power in the market:
“The FTC only alleges that Facebook has” maintained a dominant share of the US personal social media market (over 60%) “since 2011, and” that no other social network of comparable scale exists in the United States ” . That’s it. These claims – which don’t even provide an actual estimated number or range for Facebook’s market share at any point in the past ten years – ultimately fail to plausibly establish that Facebook has any market power. “
Decision is a blow to the anti-trust movement that is gaining momentum in Washington. The biggest takeaway from the case is this: The monopoly case against one of the major players in Big Tech is out of step with the law as it is currently drafted. What needs to be established is whether what Facebook is doing, as defined by law and rulings in other cases, is illegal. The answer seems to be no.
The judge’s ruling also added evidence for those who say the law is not up to the task of controlling Big Tech. Legislative efforts took a step forward last week when the House Judiciary Committee advanced six bills which would revise antitrust laws, with the aim of taming the tech giants. But it also puts Lina Khan, the Big Tech critic who now chairs the FTC, in an awkward position. If the FTC fines and files its case against Facebook, Khan will have to balance arguments that Facebook is violating the law as it currently stands with supporting efforts, as it has supported in the past, for Congress to introduce legislation. new legal tools.
In related news, Facebook shares jump after move sent market value over $ 1,000 billion for the first time; the White House would be drafting of a decree on the application of antitrust laws; and all this antitrust review generates a boom in demand for lawyers rooted in competition law.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS
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