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Facebook wins lawsuit by the US government and a coalition of states

Facebook Inc. won the dismissal of two antitrust cases filed by the federal government and a coalition of states when a judge threw out the lawsuits. The social media platform shares rose.


U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington on Monday granted Facebook’s request to dismiss the complaints, filed last year by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general led by New York’s Letitia James.

The judge said in the opinion that the FTC failed to meet the burden for establishing that Facebook has a monopoly in social networking. He said the agency could refile the complaint within 30 days.

“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,” Boasberg wrote.

Facebook shares rose as much as 4.4% in New York following the ruling.

With the ruling, Facebook has escaped — at least for now — the most significant regulatory threat to its business to emerge out of the wider crackdown on U.S. technology giants.

The decision delivers a blow to the FTC and the states, which claimed Facebook violated antitrust laws by buying photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp in order to cut off emerging competitive threats and protect its monopoly.

It puts new emphasis on antitrust legislation advanced by the Judiciary Committee last week that would make it easier for enforcers to challenge…

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