Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, the parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, had asked a court to dismiss an antitrust complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the second time. However, Judge James Boasberg said on Tuesday that the FTC’s revised lawsuit should be allowed to proceed.
“Ultimately, whether the FTC will be able to prove its case and prevail at summary judgment and trial is anyone’s guess. The court declines to engage in such speculation and simply concludes that at this motion-to-dismiss stage, where the FTC’s allegations are treated as true, the agency has stated a plausible claim for relief,” wrote Boasberg, of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The FTC, under the new chair, Lina Khan, wants to force Meta to sell its photo-sharing app Instagram and its messaging service WhatsApp in one of the biggest challenges the government has brought against a tech company in decades. Its lawsuit accuses Meta of pursuing a “course of anti-competitive conduct”.
The FTC originally sued Facebook during the Trump administration, and its complaint was rejected by the court in June last year. The agency filed an amended complaint in August, adding more detail on the accusation that the social media company had crushed or bought rivals. Meta’s platforms are used by 2.8 billion people around the world on a daily basis.