On Monday, a massive blow was dealt to the effort to have Facebook labeled as a monopoly and possibly be broken up as a result, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
Judge James Boasberg, an Obama-appointed judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed two major antitrust lawsuits filed against the Big Tech giant, with one filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the other filed by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general.
The lawsuits both pointed to Facebook’s recent acquisitions of the messaging platform WhatsApp and the picture-sharing platform Instagram as proof that the website had become a monopoly in the world of social media. Judge Boasberg, however, claimed that the FTC’s suit did not provide sufficient evidence that this made Facebook a monopoly; he then accused the attorneys generals’ lawsuit of being filed too late after the acquisition to maintain relevant standing.
Specifically, Boasberg claimed that “this case involves no ordinary or intuitive market,” since social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are free to download and use, and customers are still capable of using multiple social platforms at a time. Both suits were dismissed “without prejudice.”
As a result of the defeat of the lawsuits, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) called on Congress to address the issue directly by passing a new law.
“Today’s development in the FTC’s case against Facebook,” Buck said in a statement, “shows that antitrust reform is urgently needed.”
There have been multiple proposals for cracking down on Big Tech monopolies in Congress which have received broad bipartisan support. However, some Republicans claim that these bills would not do enough to address the overwhelming biased censorship of conservatives. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that any such reform bill should allow social media users to sue if they are censored or banned for political reasons.
One example of such a law was passed in the state of Florida, when Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed a bill implementing steep fines on any social media companies that ban candidates for political office. The bill also allowed Floridians to sue Big Tech companies that they feel have censored them for purely political reasons.