| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Facebook joins $1 trillion club after anti-trust victory

After the tech giant won a court victory against US regulators, the stock market value of Facebook has topped $1 trillion for the first time.

A federal court dismissed two lawsuits, from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of states, sending Facebook shares up 4.2 percent.

It took the value of Facebook above $1tn, making it the last of the “big five” tech firms to hit the milestone.

The legal actions had accused Facebook of stifling competition.

But Judge James Boasberg ruled that the FTC’s anti-trust complaint against the social networking giant was too vague.

Another separate anti-competition lawsuit filed by a group of 46 states was thrown out because the alleged violations occurred too long ago.

In the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruling, Judge Boasberg wrote that the FTC’s complaint was “legally insufficient” and had to be dismissed, because the FTC had “failed to plead enough facts” to back up its claim that Facebook was stifling competition.

The FTC’s lawsuit had asked that the technology giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, be broken up.

“The FTC’s complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined anti-trust product market,” wrote Judge Boasberg.

“It is almost as if the agency expects the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist.”

While this is a setback for the FTC that some analysts say could have repercussions for the future of anti-competition law in the US, the watchdog can re-file the charges and has until 28 July to do so.

However, investors saw it as an important victory for Facebook, sending the share price higher. The values of the other tech giants – Apple, Google-owner Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon – have already topped $1tn.