Lina Khan
(Photo : GettlyImages/ Pool) FTC Lina Khan

Facebook has officially filed a petition on July 15 to have the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC chairwoman Lina Khan recused from the agency's ongoing antitrust lawsuit against the social media giant.

Facebook Wants FTC Chair Removed

Facebook argued in its petition that FTC chairwoman Khan had made public statements accusing the company of band conduct that is deemed as a violation of the antitrust law.

Facebook said that Khan's personal judgment towards the company should be enough grounds for recusal as she has already made up her mind about the company's liability in the case.

Now, the FTC has a few weeks to decide on whether to file an amended complaint in its antitrust case against the social media company in federal court after a judge dismissed the initial claims during Facebook's FTC investigation.

Also Read: Facebook to Face Antitrust Investigation in the UK Just Days After it Won Case in France

The FTC could decide to try the case internally before passing it on to the administrative law judge, according to Reuters.

Facebook is not the only company that filed the petition. Amazon also asked for Khan's recusal from antitrust probes based on her criticism of the e-commerce company.

Khan garnered fame after she published "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox" in the Yale Law Journal while she was a student back in 2017, according to Apple Insider.

Khan's article stated that the unique business models of Amazon must be thoroughly assessed with an expansive framework for antitrust laws aside from the consumer welfare standard, which usually leans on whether the prices increase or decrease for consumers.

Khan also wrote in the article that the new framework could help people understand why companies like Amazon, whose platform prioritizes growth, might also be taking advantage of pricing.

Facebook wrote in the petition that it agrees with Amazon's arguments for its own petition, citing past cases where commissioners were recused because of prejudgment, according to Time Magazine.

Khan's Work Prior to FTC

Before getting the position as chairwoman for FTC, Khan worked for Democrats on the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, where she helped file the report on businesses such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google that found each company holds monopoly power. Khan reportedly makes recommendations for legal reform.

Khan also worked as a legal director for Open Markets Institute, an advocacy group that has pushed for government agencies to keep a close eye on tech firms and their business practices.

Facebook stated that while Khan was the legal director for Open Markets, the Institute advocated for the FTC to reverse its approval of Facebook's acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate, she was questioned about whether she would have to recuse herself from cases involving tech companies due to the nature of her past work.

Khan said that she did not have any conflicts that would be grounds for her recusal and that she would follow all the facts given on the cases and not rely on her prejudgment.

This is not the first time that an FTC chair was asked to be removed from a case. In 1970, an FTC chairman was ordered to be removed from a case involving TV advertising for children due to his past criticism of the practices. However, an appeals court overturned the ruling, and he was kept in his position.

The FTC has not commented on Facebook's petition for the recusal of FTC chairwoman Khan.

Related Article: Amazon Wants FTC Chair Khan Removed From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Acquisition Issue, Claiming She Is Bias

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Written by Sophie Webster

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