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Facebook files motions to have government antitrust complaints dismissed

The company argues that its acquisitions have been good for competition

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Facebook has moved to have government antitrust complaints against it dismissed on the grounds that the complaints fail to "credibly claim” that its behavior suppressed competition or harmed consumers. 

Towards the end of last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of state attorneys general filed separate lawsuits against Facebook, accusing the company of anti-competitive conduct. 

“For nearly a decade, Facebook has used its dominance and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference in December. “Facebook used vast amounts of money to acquire potential rivals before they could threaten the company’s dominance.”

In its suit, the FTC alleged that the company illegally maintained its monopoly in the social networking industry “through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” The agency called on the court to unwind the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. 

“Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive,” Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a December statement.

Facebook pushing back

In two motions filed Wednesday, Facebook sought to have the government’s antitrust complaints dismissed. 

“Antitrust laws are intended to promote competition and protect consumers,” Facebook said in a blog post. “These complaints do not credibly claim that our conduct harmed either.”

The company added that it believes its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram “have been good for competition, good for advertisers and good for people.” 

“Our products remain popular because we constantly evolve, innovate and invest in better experiences for people against world-class competitors. We believe the government should be denied the do-over it seeks,” Facebook said. 

Facebook also argued that the FTC, which approved its acquisition of the apps, doesn’t have sufficient grounds to undo its original decision. 

“Facebook is aware of no comparable, much less successful, challenge by the FTC to a long-completed acquisition that the FTC itself cleared,” Facebook said in the filing. 

New York AG Letitia James said that Facebook was “wrong on the law and wrong on our complaint.”

“We are confident in our case, which is why almost every state in this nation has joined our bipartisan lawsuit to end Facebook’s illegal conduct,” she said in a statement.

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