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Federal Court Dismisses FTC's Anti-trust Lawsuit Against Facebook

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Shares of social networking giant Facebook Inc. (FB) gained over 4% on Monday after a federal judge dismissed anti-trust lawsuit filed against the company.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington dismissed the complaints filed last year by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general led by New York's Letitia James. The complaint was seeking to break Facebook's monopoly in social networking, which could have resulted in divestiture of Instagram and WhatsApp.

In the complaint, FTC and the states had claimed that Facebook violated antitrust laws by buying photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp to eliminate any competition and continue its monopoly.

However, in the filing, the court states that the FTC did not prove Facebook controls over 60 percent of the market -a monopoly.

"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," reads the filing from U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "The FTC has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims -- namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking (PSN) Services."

Facebook, which was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room in 2004, has recently found itself under siege by American regulators and politicians, who want to keep the company under a tight rein. Facebook boasts of nearly 2.85 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2021, while Instagram has nearly 1.074 billion users worldwide and WhatsApp is reported to have more than 2 billion monthly active users globally.

"The Court agrees that the first — the possession of monopoly power in the market for Personal Social Networking Services (as defined by the agency) — is not adequately pleaded here," the filing reads. "No more is needed to conclude that the Complaint must be dismissed."

The FTC has until July 29 to file an amended complaint.

Following the ruling, the social media giant's market cap breached the $1 trillion milestone for the first time.

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