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Facebook Gets a Win in Its Antitrust Battle

By Brian Withers and Toby Bordelon – Jul 28, 2021 at 7:42AM

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But this is likely not the last chapter in this story.

Large tech companies are on the agendas of Congress and the FTC, and Facebook (META -0.17%) is one of those caught up in the crosshairs. A recent event seems to have put a win in the social media giant's column, but this story likely isn't over yet. On a Fool Live episode recorded on July 14, Fool contributors Toby Bordelon and Brian Withers discuss the recent antitrust news surrounding this tech giant.   

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Toby Bordelon: Let's move into Facebook. Facebook, their actual earnings happen on the 28th, so two weeks from now, I think so look for that. We did have some big news though a couple of weeks ago. Facebook, they've been in the news for antitrust concerns last couple of weeks, last couple of months, but they won a victory with the FTC.

A judge dismissed a lawsuit against the company. The FTC was trying to unwind the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp, [the] judge threw that out. The FTC was arguing they violated antitrust laws and the judge basically came back and said, you haven't offered evidence for your claim that they actually have monopoly power, so what he was essentially saying is given the facts you've alleged FTC, the law doesn't apply, you're out of luck. This judge also dismissed a similar suit against Facebook by state attorney general, so big win for Facebook. Not necessarily.

There is this package of five or six antitrust bills working their way through Congress. When you look at what happened with this specific case, when a judge says the existing law doesn't apply the way you want it to. If you're a legislature and you really believe these big tech companies have too much power and it's a problem, your obvious step isn't just to change the law, to update the laws. I think this case actually probably provides some ammunition for some updates and may make the case even stronger that these bills working their way need to be adopted. We'll keep an eye on that.

The other big thing here happened this morning, Facebook made a filing for Lina Khan, the new FTC chair to be recused from decisions on whether or not to file a new case against Facebook. They think she's biased. There's a little bit of drama going on here with some personnel. Interesting to watch, I think this is not over and we're going to see some more developments on the antitrust front here.

Brian Withers: Toby, it sounds like you like to watch this stuff better than the daytime soaps.

Toby Bordelon: Yeah. It's interesting to me, I did some antitrust work when I was a lawyer and then, so it's heating up again we haven't had a lot of antitrust drama in a while. It's interesting to see this coming.

Brian Withers: You get a twinkle in your eye, every time talk about it.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Toby Bordelon has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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