Status: 12.01.2022 08:40
US antitrust authorities want Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp again. The amended complaint has now been accepted in a federal court. Ultimately, the meta-group could be dismantled.
The competing lawsuit, with which the US government wants to break up Facebook’s parent company Meta, was accepted by a Washington court in the second attempt. Justice James Boasberg rejected the first version last summer, citing insufficient reasoning. In the amended lawsuit, he saw the allegation of unfair competition much better substantiated, as evidenced by court documents. The judge also dismissed Facebook’s request to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that FTC chief Lina Khan was one-sided.
Conflict on Whatsapp and Instagram
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accuses the meta group, among others, of a monopoly position in the online networking market. Meta also bought the WhatsApp chat service and Instagram photo platform to unfairly protect this monopoly. Therefore, the takeovers should be reversed. The process should take years.
More arguments in the amended lawsuit
The initial lawsuit was filed in December 2020 at the end of President Donald Trump’s tenure, and it has been improved under the leadership of FTC Chief Khan, appointed by his successor Joe Biden. As requested by the judge, the FTC provided more arguments in the amended lawsuit that are supposed to prove Facebook’s monopoly position.
The authority relies mainly on the evolution of the number of users and analyzes of the time people spend on the platform. “The FTC did its homework this time,” the judge wrote. However, this time, he dismissed claims that Meta prevented its services from interacting with those of other developers.
At the same time, the FTC tried in the lawsuit to clearly define the social media market. As a result, there are platforms where users maintain contact with their friends and family and share contributions and experiences in a common space. Based on this definition, the FTC considers Twitter, YouTube, and the Tiktok video platform, for example, to fall into different categories – as they are geared more toward using content than personal logins.
The Facebook group is confident
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said by email that it was “confident the evidence will reveal the fundamental weakness of the claims. Our investments in Instagram and WhatsApp have made it what it is today.” They are good for the competition and the people and businesses who have chosen them.
Facebook bought Instagram for around $ 1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for around $ 22 billion in 2014. Instagram now has around one billion users, WhatsApp around two billion. The US competition authorities have approved the takeovers of Instagram and WhatsApp.
In addition to the FTC, an alliance of more than 40 states had filed a lawsuit against the agreements, but Judge Boasberg dismissed it completely in June.