Facebook calls on FTC chair Khan to recuse from antitrust case
Facebook on Wednesday filed a petition for Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan to recuse herself from any decision-making about whether and how to continue the agency's antitrust case against the social media giant.
Why it matters: Khan, a vocal critic of Big Tech's power, took over leadership of the agency as it weighs whether to refile its complaint against the company after a judge dismissed it last month.
Details: In its petition, Facebook argues that Khan's public criticism and previous work make it seem she has already prejudged the company's antitrust liability. Facebook cites:
- Khan's work for antitrust advocacy group Open Markets Institute.
- Academic writing in which Facebook says Khan discussed her "belief that Facebook violated the antitrust laws."
- Khan's work in the House Judiciary Committee's investigation of competition in the digital marketplace, which focused on Facebook and other tech companies.
- Public appearances and statements, including a New York Times interview.
- Twitter posts in which Khan commented on the FTC's lawsuit against Facebook.
What they're saying: "Chair Khan has consistently made well-documented statements about Facebook and antitrust matters that would lead any reasonable observer to conclude that she has prejudged the Facebook antitrust case brought by the FTC," a Facebook spokesperson said.
- "To protect the fairness and impartiality of these proceedings, we have requested that Chair Khan recuse herself from involvement with the FTC’s antitrust case against Facebook."
- An FTC spokesperson declined comment.
The big picture: Amazon made similar arguments about Khan's previous work and statements in seeking her recusal in a petition earlier this month.