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Meta Seeks Dismissal of FTC's Anti-Monopoly Lawsuit

Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, has taken legal action to request the dismissal of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) anti-monopoly lawsuit against the company. In a motion for summary judgment filed on Friday, Meta argues that the FTC has failed to uncover evidence substantial enough to support its claims.

The crux of Meta's argument is twofold: firstly, the company contends that the FTC will not be able to prove the relevant market definition in the case; and secondly, Meta asserts that the FTC cannot demonstrate that its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp caused harm to consumers.

The FTC's Amended Complaint and Market Definition

In 2021, a District Court judge initially dismissed the FTC's complaint but allowed the agency to file an amended version, which the judge deemed "far more robust and detailed than before." However, the judge acknowledged that the FTC might face challenges in proving its allegations.

In its amended complaint, the FTC defined the relevant market as "personal social networking services" (PSNS), which includes platforms with social graphs where users can engage with friends and family on primarily personal topics. According to the FTC, this market includes Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and MeWe, but excludes services like TikTok and YouTube, which the agency claims serve different purposes.

Meta's Counterarguments

Meta attacks the FTC's market definition, arguing that it is unreasonably narrow. The company asserts that the court should consider how social media users interchange content between Instagram and platforms like TikTok or YouTube, particularly through their short-form video features.

Furthermore, Meta contends that the FTC "must prove that its candidate market includes all reasonable substitutes." The company argues that if the market definition were to include services like YouTube and TikTok, the FTC could not plausibly claim that Meta holds monopoly power, which generally requires a market share of at least 60 percent.

Challenging Harm to Consumers

Meta also challenges the FTC's claim that the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp harmed consumers. The company argues that the FTC allowed the sales to go through roughly a decade ago, and revisiting these mergers now "threatens beneficial competition and is unsupported."

Meta asserts that its acquisitions have generated "extraordinary consumer-welfare benefits" through expanded free services, substantial improvements, and continuous feature innovation. The company claims it cannot be proven that consumers would be better off had the acquisitions never occurred, and warns that the FTC's challenge of its mergers could be dangerous for innovation.

The FTC has until May 24th to file its opposition to Meta's motion for summary judgment.

Meta attacks the FTC's market definition, arguing that it is unreasonably narrow
Meta attacks the FTC's market definition, arguing that it is unreasonably narrow

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