Facebook has responded to the lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission and multiple state attorneys general, calling the legal matter an ‘attack’ and ‘revisionist history.’ The statement comes hours after the FTC announced the lawsuits over alleged Facebook’s ‘illegal monopolization.’
On December 9, the FTC announced that it has sued Facebook over allegations that it is ‘illegally maintaining its personal social network monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.’ The lawsuits follow what the FTC says was a long investigation that included the attorneys general of 46 states, Washington DC, and Guam.
Cited as part of the legal matter is Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, something the FTC alleges is part of Facebook’s ‘systematic strategy … to eliminate threats to its monopoly.’ For its part, the FTC wants a permanent injunction that may force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram, among other things.
Facebook has, as you’d expect, taken issue with these claims, calling them ‘revisionist history.’ The company points out in its statement that the FTC voted unanimously to clear the Instagram acquisition following an ‘in-depth Second Request.’ The company goes on to state:
Now, many years later, with seemingly no regard for settled law or the consequences to innovation and investment, the agency is saying it got it wrong and wants a do-over. In addition to being revisionist history, this is simply not how the antitrust laws are supposed to work. No American antitrust enforcer has ever brought a case like this before, and for good reason. The FTC and states stood by for years while Facebook invested billions of dollars and millions of hours to make Instagram and WhatsApp into the apps that users enjoy today.
Facebook points out that it has invested ‘billions of dollars and millions of hours’ in developing WhatsApp and Instagram, stating too that the latter app is ‘the Instagram that Facebook built, not the app it acquired.’ The company counters the FTC’s claims, stating that its acquisition of both platforms of ‘benefit’ for both consumers and advertisers.
Facebook goes on to address some of the FTC’s other allegations, ultimately stating that it looks forward to ‘our day in court, when we’re confident the evidence will show that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp belong together, competing on the merits with great products.’