Facebook antitrust complaint dismissed by federal judge

Judge's dismissal leaves potential for FTC to file amended complaint

A federal judge dismissed a pair of antitrust complaints filed by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general against Facebook.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in an opinion Monday that the FTC complaint against Facebook was "legally insufficient," while noting that he didn’t agree with all of Facebook’s arguments, either. 

The government’s case failed to show that Facebook has a monopoly on social networking services, according to Boasberg.

A federal judge dismissed a pair of antitrust complaints filed by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general against Facebook. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo)

"These allegations – which do not even provide an estimated actual figure or range for Facebook’s market share at any point over the past 10 years – ultimately fall short of plausibly establishing that Facebook holds market power," the judge wrote.

Facebook representative Andy Stone tweeted that the company was "pleased that today's decisions recognize the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook."

"We compete fairly every day to earn people's time and attention and will continue to deliver great products for the people and businesses that use our services," the company said in the statement.

Investors appeared happy with the decision. Facebook stock surged more than 4% to about $355 per share by market close Monday.

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Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB FACEBOOK, INC. 354.22 -2.08 -0.58%

However, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said in a tweet that he found the ruling "deeply disappointing." 

"Bad result for the American people," wrote Hawley, who has previously criticized Facebook over its decisions to remove conservative content. 

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Officials had targeted Facebook over its acquisitions of other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp in a pair of lawsuits filed last December, accusing the company of using its wealth to buy out potential competitors. 

In response, the company previously pointed to platforms like TikTok, iMessage, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn and YouTube to argue that the government’s allegation that it has monopolized social networking "doesn’t make sense."

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The judge did leave the government a chance to renew its case against Facebook by filing an amended complaint by the end of next month.