Facebook shares rose more than 3% on Monday following the dismissal of the lawsuit, pushing the social media company’s market capitalization above $ 1,000 billion for the first time.
“Although the court does not agree with all of Facebook’s assertions here, it ultimately agrees that the agency’s complaint is legally insufficient and should therefore be dismissed,” read the US District Court file. of the District of Columbia. “The FTC has not pleaded enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 allegations, namely that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for personal social networking services ( PSN). “
In the case, the court says the FTC has not proven that Facebook has a monopoly.
“The Court agrees that the first – the possession of monopoly power over the market for personal social networking services (as defined by the agency) – is not sufficiently argued here,” the record reads. “It does not take more to conclude that the complaint should be dismissed. “
The court also rejected Facebook’s argument that the FTC lacks the power to attack the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions, which took place in 2012 and 2014. Rather, it ruled that the FTC can always request the divestiture of these acquisitions. but only if he succeeds in his legal arguments over Facebook’s monopoly power.
The court ruled that the FTC failed to provide sufficiently detailed data to prove that Facebook had market power in the loosely defined market for personal social networking services.
“The complaint is undoubtedly light on specific factual allegations regarding consumers’ changing preferences,” the court wrote. “These allegations – which don’t even provide an 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 market power. “
The record notes that the FTC’s complaint lacked specific evidence.
“The FTC complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key issue of the real power Facebook had, and still has, in a properly defined antitrust product market,” the documents read. “It’s almost as if the agency expects the court to just nod at the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopoly. “
The decision is not necessarily the end of the matter. The court recognized that the FTC might be able to remedy weaknesses in its case and therefore left open the possibility of filing an amended complaint and continuing the litigation.
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