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Photo: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

FTC releases findings on how Big Tech eats little tech

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan signaled changes are on the way in how the agency scrutinizes acquisitions after revealing the results of a study of a decade's worth of Big Tech company deals that weren't reported to the agency.

Why it matters: Tech's business ecosystem is built on giant companies buying up small startups, but the message from the antitrust agency this week could chill mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The line between business and politics has vanished

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

"Stop writing about politics. I signed up for a business newsletter." I get that message, sometimes a lot of them, when this space's eyes wander toward Washington, D.C.

Why it matters: Years ago, it might have been a valid critique. Today, though, the line between business and politics has all but vanished.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.