Federal court tosses antitrust suits against Facebook, in huge blow to D.C.'s fight with tech

Facebook is the largest social network in the world with 2.7 billion users worldwide. Boasberg claimed that prosecutors had not done enough to define social networking or explain how they calculated that Facebook has more than 60% of the market.The use of social networking services is free. However, the precise boundaries of what constitutes "social networking", i.e. which features of a company's website or mobile app are included and excluded, are not clear. Boasberg dismissed the FTCs complaint in an opinion. FTC's inability of providing any indication as to the metrics or methods it used to calculate Facebook's market share makes its vague assertion that "60% plus" is too uncertain and conclusive to continue.Boasberg found that the state attorneys general failed to file a lawsuit challenging Facebook's 2012 acquisition of Instagram. This was a major platform for sharing photos and also its 2014 acquisition WhatsApp, a popular messaging app.Facebook, Tish James, New York Attorney General and the FTC did not immediately comment on the decision.Boasberg granted federal and state prosecutors thirty days to file antitrust complaints against Facebook. If Boasberg's decision is upheld, it could be a significant roadblock for a D.C. tech agenda which has only gained momentum over the past two years.Lina Khan, the FTC's new chair, is an outspoken antitrust advocate. This raises expectations that it will take more aggressive enforcement action as it investigates Amazon's anticompetitive behavior. Multiple states and the Justice Department continue to file antitrust lawsuits against Google. They are also investigating allegations about Apple's control of its App Store.Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are proposing changes to U.S. Antitrust Law to address digital platforms that charge little to no for their services.Sen. Josh Hawley, a tech critic (Republican from Missouri), called the decision "deeply disappointing." The decision was described as "deeply disappointing" by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who noted that while Facebook's market power is acknowledged, the court essentially ignored its concerns.Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who supports legislation to disintegrate tech giants alongside Democrats, stated that the decision "shows the urgency of antitrust reform."Buck stated that Congress should provide more resources and tools to antitrust enforcers in order to pursue Big Tech companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct.