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Don’t drop Facebook battle, lawmakers tell FTC

The FTC‘s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook has been setback in court, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants it to continue. A letter signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), together with representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO), was sent to FTC Chair Lina Khan detailing why regulatory action is needed.

“The Commission needs to act to prevent anticompetitive conduct by digital monopolies by making sure that they are held accountable for antitrust violations to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote the lawmakers.

Facebook battle should not be dropped, lawmakers tell FTC

It comes just four days after the federal government dismissed its key antitrust complaint against Facebook against all 48 state attorneys general.

In order for the FTC to refile its complaint, it must provide more comprehensive evidence that Facebook is indeed monopolizing social networking.


Boasberg acknowledged in his rejected settlement that the FTC’s effort to classify Facebook as a monopoly was unimpressive, since its initial complaint provided only “the naked allegation” that Facebook held a 60 percent share of the market.

A few of the metrics offered by the dismissal might convince the court, including how much users spend on Facebook apps and which rivals are in that market. All of those suggestions are made with caveats about the difficulty of proving these metrics.

Boasberg also described the difficulty of fitting Facebook’s antitrust regulations into his dismissal.

The market in this case isn’t the usual one. PSN [Personal Social Networking] services are free to use and the exact bounds of what comprises a PSN service – namely, which features of a company’s mobile app or website fall under that interpretation and which do not – are still unclear.

Legislators have noted this and advocated for modifying antitrust law to accommodate modern tech giants. According to Buck, who is one of the letter’s signatories, the dismissal shows antitrust reform is urgently needed.

Taking action against anticompetitive conduct by big tech companies requires Congress to provide additional tools and resources, he wrote.

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