Legal dispute over Instagram and WhatsApp: judge dismisses US competition lawsuit against Facebook – Panorama

Facebook has a monopoly in the social networking market. (Symbol image) Photo: dpa/Yui Mok

The US government has suffered a severe setback in trying to get Facebook broken up in court. The Internet giant’s share has meanwhile passed the trillion dollar mark.

Washington – The US government has suffered a severe setback in trying to get Facebook broken up in court. A judge in Washington dismissed a complaint from the FTC. The FTC has not been able to show that Facebook has a monopoly in the market for social networks, he argued in his decision published on Monday. However, he left the authority open to submit an updated complaint within 30 days.

The FTC accused Facebook of unfair competition in the lawsuit filed in December and wanted to achieve a split from Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook bought the photo platform and the chat service to protect its dominance from its rivals, is their argument. 40 states are also filing a similar lawsuit of their own.

Biden inherited suit from Trump

A central question now is how the administration of President Joe Biden intends to deal with the case – he had inherited the lawsuit from his predecessor Donald Trump. However, Lina Khan – a well-known critic of the competitive position of large tech companies – was recently appointed as the new head of the FTC.

Facebook requested the court to dismiss the lawsuit – among other things because the FTC had too vaguely outlined the market in which Facebook was active.

Facebook bought Instagram for about $ 1 billion in 2012

Facebook bought Instagram for around $ 1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for around $ 22 billion in 2014. Both services now have well over a billion users. The US competition watchdogs approved the takeovers of Instagram and WhatsApp at the time.

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In the past there had been calls to remove Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook. In recent years, the group has brought together the infrastructure behind the platform of its online network as well as Instagram and WhatsApp more closely. That would make a split technically more difficult.