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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A federal district judge on Monday dismissed the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust complaint alleging Facebook engaged in anticompetitive practices.

Driving the news: The judge described the FTC's complaint as "legally insufficient" in making the case that Facebook has monopoly power in the personal social network market.

Details: The FTC suit, filed in December, asked the court to unwind Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp, among other remedies.

  • In his ruling, Judge James Boasberg of the Federal District Court in D.C. wrote: "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 antitrust product market. It is almost as if the agency expects the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist."

What's next: The order notes the FTC can refile its complaint.

  • The complaint lacked specifics on the metrics or methods the FTC used to calculate Facebook's market share, but the judge noted "this defect could conceivably be overcome by re-pleading."

Separately, the same judge dismissed a parallel antitrust lawsuit brought by a coalition of state attorneys general.

  • Boasberg wrote that the states had waited too long to challenge acquisitions that occurred nearly a decade ago.
  • A spokesperson for the New York Attorney General's Office said, "We are reviewing this decision and considering our legal options.”

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - Technology

Facebook stock tanks as troubles mount

Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Facebook's latest string of controversies is beginning to seriously weigh on its stock performance — a clear indication of the tech giant's vulnerability to long-term business headwinds, even if its ads business continues to grow for now.

The big picture: In the past, investors have mostly shrugged at blows to Facebook's reputation, including Capitol Hill hearings and leaks, and instead have focused on ad and user growth as metrics for success.

Oct 5, 2021 - Podcasts

Facebook: How did we get here?

Facebook shares are down 15% from an all-time high on September 7th. That’s the biggest drop since the beginning of the pandemic. And yesterday, Facebook’s global outage may have prevented 54 billion Facebook messages from being sent and 3.75 billion fewer calling minutes on WhatsApp, according to marketing firm ABCD Agency.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Axios’ media reporter Sara Fischer who’s been reporting on this, and how Facebook got to this moment.

Zuckerberg rebuts Facebook whistleblower testimony

Mark Zuckerberg speaks virtually during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in March, as seen on a laptop. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to his own platform to reject claims made by a former employee in testimony before Congress on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen urged Congress earlier Tuesday to regulate the tech giant, accusing Facebook of putting profit before user well-being.