In two motions filed Wednesday, Facebook appealed to the courts to comprehensive competition matters brought by the federal government and a coalition of states.
The Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general filed separate lawsuits against Facebook last December, accusing the technology giant of acting with competitive behavior. The two court cases make similar allegations, claiming that Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp to thwart the threat posed by the two apps to the business. In addition, Attorney General Facebook has accused it of using its market dominance to stem the growth of competitive services.
The FTC’s case also calls for the courts to withdraw Facebook’s acquisitions from Instagram and WhatsApp in separate companies.
In Facebook’s motion to dismiss the cases, the lawsuits allege that the two emerging apps were ‘potential’ competitors, rather than an urgent and actual threat to Facebook’s business. The FTC declined to comment. The Attorney General’s Office in New York, one of the states leading the second case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The edge.
“Antitrust laws are meant to promote competition and protect consumers,” Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday. “These complaints do not credibly claim that our behavior is also harming.”
Because the FTC at the time approved the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook also claims that the commission does not have sufficient grounds to reverse the decision. “Facebook is aware of no comparable, much less successful challenge to the FTC for a long-term acquisition that the FTC itself has approved,” reads the Facebook filing.
Facebook is at the center of a series of antitrust investigations instituted by the federal government, states and Congress. Last month, the House Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee held its first hearing on technological dominance following a 16-month investigation into companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. That investigation led to a report by Democrats calling for structural remedies for Facebook’s affairs, which could potentially lead to a breakdown. The hearing was the final stage of the committee’s work and held a second series of hearings on how US antitrust law can be reformed as it is applied to technology companies.
Committees in both the House and Senate plan to hold hearings this week, and new legislation is expected to land before the end of spring.