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Facebook scores major victory in United States; also becomes a trillion dollar firm

A judge in the United States dismissed the blockbuster anti-trust action against Facebook that was filed last year by State and Federal regulators, stating that officials had failed to prove that the social networking company had created a monopoly. 

Facebook scores major victory in United States; also becomes a trillion dollar firm-VPN
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Washington D.C., First Published Jun 29, 2021, 11:53 AM IST
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A US judge dismisses the blockbuster antitrust action against Facebook filed last year by federal and state regulators, helping lift the value of the social media giant above $1 trillion for the first time:

A judge in the United States dismissed the blockbuster anti-trust action against Facebook that was filed last year by State and Federal regulators, stating that officials had failed to prove that the social networking company had created a monopoly. 

US District Court of Washington, DC, Judge James Boasberg dismissed the case that was filed by over 40 American states and the Federal Trade Commission, which, if passed, could have curbed the company's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. 

In a 53-page ruling, the judge said that the federal lawsuit had failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element -- that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for personal social networking services. He also did allow authorities to file the charges all over again. 

In the lawsuits filed in December, US officials called for the disinvestment of Instagram and WhatsApp, claiming that Facebook had acted to 'entrench and maintain its monopoly to deny consumers the benefits of competition'. 

The judge issued a separate opinion dismissing the case by the States, stating that they had waited too long to file the case considering that Instagram and WhatsApp were acquired in 2012 and 2014, respectively. 

He said that the FTC complaint said almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had. 

It is almost as if the FTC expected the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is monopolist, the judge said, adding that the agency based its case on a 'vague' assertion that alleged that Facebook controlled more than 60% of the social networking market. 

"The market at issue here is unusual in a number of ways, including that the products therein are not sold for a price. The court is thus unable to understand exactly what the agency's '60 per cent plus figure is even referring to, let alone able to infer the underlying facts that might substantiate it," the judgment said. 

Facebook did not comment immediately, but its shares surged after the decision, which lifted the social networking giant's valuation over $1 trillion for the first time. 

The ruling comes only a week after a US congressional panel advanced legislation that would lead to a sweeping overhaul of anti-trust laws and give regulators more power to break up large firms like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. 

The actions come amidst increasing concerns over the power of major tech firms that have seen steady growth during the pandemic.

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