Facebook's Market Cap Pushed Beyond $1 Trillion As Course Dismisses Lawsuits

A judge dismissed antitrust complaints against Facebook that sought for the tech company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, saying the federal complaint was "legally insufficient."


Shares of Facebook went up more than 4% after the ruling on Monday. The rise in share price pushed Facebook's market capitalization over the $1 trillion mark for the first time, joining other giant corporations like Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet. The shares currently trade at $355.64 after reaching a peak of $384.


The dismissal was the first big blow to state and federal lawsuits against Big Tech firms last year seeking to rein in alleged abuses of their massive market power.

Although Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the Federal Trade Commission failed to prove that Facebook had monopoly power in the social-networking market he however said that they could file a new complaint by July 29.

Judge Boasberg also dismissed a lawsuit by various states, claiming they waited too long to challenge the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively. These states were not invited to refile their complaint.


A spokesperson for the New York Attorney General’s office said it was "considering our legal options."

Facebook asked for all lawsuits to be dismissed.


Regarding the FTC lawsuit, the judge wrote: "Although the court does not agree with all of Facebook's contentions here, it ultimately concurs that the agency's complaint is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed."

A Facebook spokesperson said: "We are pleased that today’s decisions recognize the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook." An FTC spokesperson said the agency was "closely reviewing the opinion and assessing the best option forward."


A bright spot for the FTC in the ruling was the judge's saying that the agency was "on firmer ground in scrutinizing the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, as the court rejects Facebook's argument that the FTC lacks authority to seek injunctive relief against those purchases."


The FTC and a big group of states last year filed separate lawsuits accusing Facebook of breaking antitrust law to keep smaller competitors at bay by purchasing rivals, Instagram and WhatsApp for $1 billion and $19 billion respectively.

The Federal Government and states filed a total of five lawsuits against Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google last year following bipartisan outrage over their social media clout in the economy and the political sphere.


The judge said that the FTC did not competently support its assertion that Facebook has over 60% of the market. However, Boasberg said the agency was welcome to fix the issue in a refiling.

The judge also criticized parts of the FTC's case, especially regarding its refusal to allow interoperability permissions with competing apps.


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