Brief - The Hustle

Facebook scores an antitrust win

Written by Trung T. Phan | Jun 30, 2021 7:48:06 AM

Mark Zuckerberg is a noted fan of BBQ.

He’ll likely be throwing some celebratory steaks on the grill after Monday’s big news: a DC federal court has thrown out 2 antitrust suits against Facebook.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)…

… and several state attorneys general were looking to break up your uncle’s favorite social network for being a monopoly. But according to the court, they couldn’t properly define what industry in which Facebook is actually a monopoly.

Politico writes that US District Judge James Boasberg made 2 key critiques against this suit:

  • What is a social network? The prosecution didn’t make clear the bounds of features of the market they were describing.
  • What is Facebook’s share? Prosecutors said Facebook holds a 60%+ share in said market, but the explanation was “vague.”

The other big blow

A separate suit painted Facebook’s previous acquisitions of Instagram (2012) and WhatsApp (2014) as anti-competitive.

However, Judge Boasberg said that the prosecution took way too long to bring these cases to court. Attempting to unwind these deals now seems to be quite a big ask.

While Zucky McLucky has won this round…

… the court’s decision is far from final. Per Matt Stoller, there is a silver lining for Big Tech critics. The FTC can actually refile its complaint within 30 days with new market share data (and perhaps a stronger case).

More broadly, these failed suits are a call to action for legislators.

“It’s evident that Congress needs to step in and rewrite antitrust laws across the board,” writes Stoller.

In the meantime, Facebook investors may enjoy some BBQ themselves: Shortly after the news came out, $FB passed $1T for the first time.