Facebook's Value at $1 Trillion as Judge Tosses Antitrust Suits

Facebook Inc. won a court decision dismissing two monopoly lawsuits brought by the U.S government and a coalition representing states seeking to disintegrate the company. This defeats the efforts of antitrust officials who sought to take down the largest tech platforms.Facebook shares shot up Monday after U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled in Washington, pushing the company's market value to over $1 trillion.Boasberg granted the company's request to dismiss complaints last year filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (USFC) and New York state attorneys general (NYAG), stating that the FTC had failed to meet the burden of establishing that Facebook is a monopoly in social media.Judge said that the FTC had failed to define the market clearly and that its assertions about Facebook's market share were too speculative to be considered conclusive. The agency could refile the complaint in 30 days.Boasberg said that although the court did not agree with Facebook's assertions, it eventually agreed that the complaint was legally inadequate and should be dismissed.Facebook shares rose by 4.9%, their highest level since April 29. The shares are up 30% in this year.A company spokesperson said that they were pleased with today's recognition of the flaws in the government complaints against Facebook.Facebook is now exempt from the largest regulatory threat to the company that emerged from the larger crackdown against U.S. technology companies. The FTC did not immediately comment on this decision. According to the New York Attorney Generals Office, it is reviewing the decision and considering legal options.This ruling is a setback for the FTC as well as the states. They claimed that Facebook had violated antitrust laws when it bought photo-sharing app Instagram, and messaging service WhatsApp to protect its monopoly and cut off any potential competition.It also places a new emphasis on the antitrust legislation that was advanced last week by the House Judiciary Committee. This would make it easier to challenge anticompetitive conduct of the largest tech platforms.Antitrust HurdlesBoasberg's decision to dismiss the Facebook complaints demonstrates the obstacles U.S. antitrust enforcers have to overcome in their efforts to combat the internet giants. Officials cannot break up companies and impose other remedies on their own, but must convince judges to take action. This process can take many years.In a separate opinion, the judge criticised the attorneys general for not challenging the acquisitions within years of the Instagram and WhatsApp deal.Boasberg stated that the states' long delays were unjustified and unreasonable. According to plaintiffs' allegations, both acquisitions were publicly announced and the states were therefore aware of them or should have been aware from that point onward.As part of an increasing crackdown on America's tech giants, the Facebook lawsuits were filed in December. Following a Justice Department complaint about Alphabet Inc. allegedly monopolizing Internet search and the House investigation which found that tech companies were abusing their power, the cases were filed. Since then, a number of bills have been introduced by lawmakers that would cover all the companies.According to sources familiar with the matter the U.S. Justice Department has intensified its scrutiny of Google's digital advertising market practices in the recent months. This shows that the Biden administration continues to pursue a probe that began under President Donald Trump.More: Google Ad Business Facing Scrutiny as the DOJ Extends Trump Era ProbeFacebook lawsuits revolved around the 2012 acquisition of Instagram, and the 2014 takeover by WhatsApp. Officials claim that Facebook made these deals because it considered both companies to be threats to its business. According to FTC complaints, Facebook chose not to compete with its products and instead followed Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer.Facebook offered $1 billion to Instagram for 25 million users with no revenue. However, it was already capturing the mobile photo-sharing market. According to FTC complaints, Zuckerberg stated that the threat from Instagram was very scary. WhatsApp was purchased by the company for $19 billion because it considered messaging apps to be a threat to its business. According to the FTC complaint, a Facebook executive stated that the apps could be the greatest threat the company has ever faced.Facebook attacked the complaints for several reasons. One of the key arguments was that both acquisitions were investigated by the FTC at the time they were announced. The agency then allowed both deals to proceed. Facebook claimed that the FTC's case was unique and that the agency had never explained why it approved the mergers. Facebook stated that the government wants a re-run.Additionally, the company argued that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in April which limited the FTC's authority to recover money from defrauded consumers necessitated that the complaint be dropped.Federal Trade Commission v. Facebook Inc. 20cv-3590, U.S. District Court District of Columbia (Washington).The Leadership Brief. Conversations with the most powerful leaders in tech and business. Enter valid email address. * Your request was unsuccessful and timed out. 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