The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is launching a new attack on Facebook, which it accuses of intentionally monopolizing social media and suppressing competition. The complaint is an expanded and enhanced replacement for an original which was rejected earlier in 2021 by a federal judge. Facebook continues to adamantly deny that it is a monopoly and the company has confirmed that it intends to fight the suit in court.
FTC renews attack on Facebook
Facebook has received widespread criticism from politicians of both major parties in recent years due the powerful influence it exerts over the political process.
Conservatives often feel that their opinions are being censored on the platform and leftists frequently argue that not the company is not doing enough to restrict political speech.
Criticism from the FTC is related to another major concern. Facebook is accused of attempting to eliminate competition and ensure that the market cannot create any alternatives.
The company is described in the complaint as having a monopoly in the “personal social media” market; platforms which a primarily intended for communication between individuals.
Facebook, which has also acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, is by far the largest social media platform of any variety.
FTC Chair Lina Khan, a Biden appointee, has attacked the tech giant in the past and has refused to recuse herself from the current case, denying a request from Facebook.
Monopolizing social media
Facebook insists that all of its acquisitions were lawful and that the FTC is attempting to retroactively apply antitrust laws which did not inhibit the company at the time.
Judge James Boasberg dismissed the earlier complaint because he felt it was too vague and did not provide enough solid data to back up claims being made.
The FTC has addressed these concerns with its second attempt; the new filing is far more in depth and includes the specific information which was previously lacking.
The filing details a history of how the company managed to crush any alternative platforms which emerged from the market by illegally buying and dismantling them.
The complaint also accuses Facebook of using its monopoly to harm other apps by threatening to cut off access to their platform and forcing them to comply with demands.
The litigation, if successful, could result in Facebook being forced to give up Instagram and WhatsApp and convert them back into independent platforms.