(Reuters) – A US judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, saying the FTC had a reasonable case that should be allowed to continue.
Facebook, now Meta Platforms, had asked Judge James Boasberg in Washington DC federal court to dismiss the lawsuit in which the government asked the court to require Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.
The FTC's high-profile legal battle with Facebook represents one of the biggest challenges the government has faced against a technology company in decades and is closely monitored as Washington strives to address Big Tech's vast market power.
"Ultimately, it's someone's guess if the FTC will be able to prove its case and win in a brief verdict and trial. The court refuses to initiate such speculation and simply concludes that at this stage of the motion of dismissal, where the FTC's allegations are being treated as true, the agency has made a reasonable claim for relief, "Judge Boasberg wrote.
The FTC originally sued Facebook during the Trump administration, and its complaint was rejected by the court. The agency filed a modified complaint in August, adding more details about the allegation that the social media company crushed or bought rivals, and again asked a judge to force the company to sell the photo-sharing app Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp.
the verdict denied dismissal, but the judge said the FTC could not accuse Facebook of refusing to allow interoperability with competing apps as a way to maintain its dominance, saying the policies had been abandoned in 201
“Today's decision limits the scope of the FTC's case by rejecting claims about our platform policy. It also acknowledges that the agency is facing a "long task" proving its case regarding two acquisitions it approved several years ago, "a spokesman said in an email.