Facebook can breathe a sigh of relief for now as a federal judge threw out two antitrust lawsuits in the U.S.
These two lawsuits were filed separately last year by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of 48 attorneys general. Both lawsuits accused the social networking company of violating antitrust laws by acquiring competition such as Instagram and Whatsapp.
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that there is no sufficient evidence that proves Facebook has a monopoly in the industry.
According to The Verge, Facebook's stock value surged due to the dismissal of the antitrust cases. The company's stock went past $1 trillion in market capitalization, a first for Facebook.
Facebook Antitrust Lawsuits: The Next Step
According to a report by NPR, new lawsuits can still be filed against Facebook despite Judge Boasberg.
FTC has been given 30 days to appeal the decision and file a new case. The Commission must be able "to explain how it concluded that Facebook has a market share of at least 60%."
As for the case of the attorneys general, Judge Boasberg ruled that the group "had waited too long to challenge Facebook's purchases of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014."
The judge cited the Doctrine of Laches in his decision on the lawsuit filed by the attorneys general. The Doctrine of Laches is a civil law doctrine which states that "precludes relief for those who sleep on their rights," according to Judge Boasberg.
The civil law doctrine does not apply in the FTC case.
Antitrust Lawsuits Filed by FTC and Attorneys General
Despite having greenlit Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and Whatsapp, the FTC announced last year that it was looking to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit was due to the results of an antitrust hearing conducted by Congress last July.
An internal email from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was revealed during the Congress hearing. The email was about plans to "neutralize a potential competitor."
A group of 48 attorneys general followed suit with their case. The attorneys general accused the social media company of anti-competitive behavior displayed by their acquisition of Instagram and Whatsapp.
Other Antitrust Lawsuits Facebook Must Face
Facebook's antitrust lawsuit battles are seemingly far from over. Not only can the NTC file a fresh case, but Facebook also has similar lawsuits it has to deal with outside the U.S.
The European Union (EU) and the U.K. started their own antitrust investigations involving Facebook. The EU's investigation is being conducted to check and review Facebook's control on classified ads in its Marketplace service.
The U.K. has its antitrust investigation with the country's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) looking into Facebook's market dominance. British authorities have since said that they will be cooperating with the EU investigation as well.
Facebook was previously probed by France but won the investigation
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Isabella James